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3/5/2013 12:51:00 PM
Judge takes murder suspect's bond under advisement
Russell Aiken appeared in court on Tuesday for a bond hearing. Aiken is accused of beating long-time friend Jason Bush to death in December.
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Russell Aiken appeared in court on Tuesday for a bond hearing. Aiken is accused of beating long-time friend Jason Bush to death in December.

Brian King
Staff Writer

Judge Bubba Griffith took the bond for Russell Dale Aiken, the man accused of beating Jason Bush to death in December, under advisement after hearing arguments from the state and Aiken’s attorney.

An emotional Aiken was represented by Townes Jones, who contended that Aiken was not a flight risk and that, despite a lengthy criminal history, Aiken was not a threat to society. Jones said that all but two of Aiken’s past charges were non-violent in nature. On one of the charges, an assault and battery, Jones said that the victim and long-time friend of Aiken’s, Jason Bush, was a co-defendant where Aiken and Bush were fighting together against other people.

Aaron Taylor presented the state’s case for the solicitor’s office. Taylor said that Aiken had two previous charges for failure to stop for a blue light, which indicated that Aiken could be a flight risk if released on bond. Taylor asked the judge to deny bond to Aiken.

Jones gave a history of some of Aiken’s medical problems, including a two-year battle with brain cancer which is now in remission. Jones also said that Aiken was taking klonopin, a drug prescribed for panic disorders and anxiety, at the time of the incident. Jones said that the drug was not supposed to be taken with alcohol, but that Aiken had been drinking heavily that night. Taylor said that the victim’s girlfriend gave a statement to investigators in which she said that Aiken would become violent when combining prescription medications with alcohol.

Aiken’s charges stem from a Dec. 22 incident in which he is accused of beating Bush while they were in a car travelling up Hwy. 25 N. Jones said Aiken was in the back seat behind the driver, but the state says that Aiken was directly behind the passenger seat. Both parties said that Bush was in the passenger seat of the vehicle. Both Aiken’s and Bush’s girlfriends were with the two men in the car.

Bush was unconscious when the car arrived at Aiken’s residence in Hodges. Aiken fled the scene, but was later caught by police. Bush was taken to Self Regional Medical Center and placed on life support following the incident, but died in the early morning hours of Dec. 23. The Greenwood County Coroner’s Office released a statement on Dec. 27 saying that an autopsy determined that Bush died as a result of strangulation and blunt force trauma to the head.

“This is a tragic incident no matter what the court decides,” Jones told the judge during the bond hearing. “(Aiken) in no way intended to kill Jason Bush. He had no motive. He had no intent.”

Taylor read aloud a letter from Bush’s mother, who did not appear at the bond hearing due to the “emotional stress” of making such an appearance. In the letter, Bush’s mother said that Aiken was a menace to society and should be kept in jail.

Judge Griffith said that he expected to make a ruling on Aiken’s bond Wednesday morning.

Related Stories:
• Florida man dies in hunting incident
• Judge sets bond on Aiken, Autrey
• Charges upgraded in beating death
• Man dies following assault

Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, March 9, 2013
Article comment by: P Simmons

I knew both of these young men. Jason was the nicest person you would want to meet. He would give you the shirt off of his back if you needed it. He was not a fighter nor a problem maker. On the other side, Russell has used his "brain tumor" as an excuse for his very bad choices in the past more than once. There is no brain tumor! He abuses his medication as I have witnessed this myself. He drinks and takes medication inappropiately and is a danger to society. If he ran once he will run again as said he has nothing to lose. His past is full of violence and should be considered as a danger to society. He needs to stay behind bars for the rest of his life. How many times have people been let out on "good behavior" or "time served " only to cause more deaths and sorrow.

Posted: Thursday, March 7, 2013
Article comment by: Jennifer Cooper

NOT A FLIGHT RISK! Whatever! He sould not be released. Jason may not have been perfect none of us are but he had a good heart and didnt deserve to be beaten to death. I cant believe they would release him on bond! He should be behind bars! RIP Jason love and miss u

Posted: Thursday, March 7, 2013
Article comment by: L Fleming

I dont know the guy who killed Jason, but I knew Jason and had been around him several occasions when he was with my friends. Jason did not seem to be a violent person at all, if anything very friendly and helpful. My friends loved him dearly and it saddens me to know my friends are hurting cause they lost some one dear to them! I think the girls should be charged also cause I myself would not just sit there and watch someone do that to a friend. They could have stopped the car immediately and dialed 911! To beat someone to death, well he meant to hurt him badly! How could you do that to some one? That is sick! Let him rot in jail!!!

Posted: Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Article comment by: Melissa Hall

It has been told by several people who hung out with jason at russells residence that he always took more of that medication then he should have and practiced using other drugs as well! He lived to stay tore up on something! Hes a bad guy and his pill popping led to this horrific story! He killed a great friend of mine! and if they let him out he will run! no doubt about it because he has nothing to lose. Dont let him out hes right where he deserves to be!!!

Posted: Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Article comment by: Heather Rogers

Iv known Russel and Jason all of my life. I grew up with them around my brother. Jason was not a perfect person but he did not deserve to be beaten to death. Russel should never be allowed to set foot on public property ever again. He has always been violent and unpredictable. There is no telling what he is capable of doing if set free. He is a menace and will do nothing but corrupt those around him if he is set free.

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