A 25-year-old man was convicted of murder this week after prosecutors said a recovered Snapchat message helped authorities track him down.
“We are pleased that the jury used their common sense and convicted Mr. Russum,” prosecutors John Giordani and Michelle Fleck said in a statement. “There was no doubt, after the entirety of the evidence was presented, that he killed Mr. Williams during the course of a robbery.”
Russum fled to Houston after the January 2018 shooting at the Enclaves apartments, 8455 W. Sahara Ave., according to court documents. But Williams’ friend, Brandon Boisclair, told police he found him dead and saved a Snapchat message on Williams’ phone.
“The first thing I thought of was to open his Snapchat conversation with whom he had been contacting with last, and I did that,” Boisclair said, according to court records. “I think I saved the message. I left it open.”
Defense attorney Lisa Rasmussen said of the verdict: “I’m disappointed but respect the jury’s decision. It is very sad for all the parties involved, and I know my client’s family is heartbroken, as is the victim’s family.”
Boisclair told authorities the two had been at the apartment complex with $14,000 in cash to purchase 15 liters of codeine. Williams had the money in a backpack, which was missing after the shooting.
Detectives used the recovered message to identify Russum and obtained cell tower records linking Russum and 23-year-old Billy Danford at the time of the killing.
Russum’s arrest report linked Billy Danford to the shooting after cell tower records show it “appears the two were together” two hours before and an hour after Williams’ death. Detectives found that Danford and Russum are Facebook friends after receiving a tip that Danford was involved in the shooting.
Russum deleted his Snapchat and Facebook accounts after Williams was killed, according to court records.
Christopher Parra, 19, also was arrested in connection with the shooting, because prosecutors said Russum picked up Parra after asking to borrow his gun.
Detective Dolphis Boucher wrote in police records that “Danford appears to be the link between the Russum and Parra, based on the cell phone records as he communicates with them both routinely.”
Russum is scheduled to be sentenced in July. Danford and Parra are awaiting trial.