Report: Man Accused of Iowa Murder Was Supposed to be in Illinois Prison

JANIFEST/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Illinois’ Democratic-controlled legislature has been focused like a laser on restricting the rights of lawful gun owners over the past few years, and a new round of gun control legislation is expected in 2024. While anti-gun politicians are cracking down on folks exercising their Second Amendment rights, a murder in Monticello, Iowa is a sign that they should be paying far more attention to the state’s criminal justice system instead.


Authorities in the eastern Iowa community say 38-year-old Nathan Russell shot and killed a man in a “random act of violence” on Tuesday, but according to one local television station, Russell should have been in an Illinois prison at the time of the murder.

TV9 uncovered court documents showing Russell pleaded guilty in September of 2022 to felony possession of methamphetamine as part of a plea agreement that also dismissed a felony gun possession charge. A judge sentenced Russell to two years in prison and a year of supervised release. Based on that timeline, Russell should have still been in prison. Illinois Department of Corrections confirmed to KCRG-TV9 Russell was not in their parole system but could not say when he was released from prison.

The conviction would have also meant it was illegal for him to buy, own, or possess a firearm. Federal Law and Illinois law both bar anyone convicted of a felony or drug possession from owning or possessing a gun. It’s unclear how Russell obtained the gun used in Tuesday’s shooting. The Monticello police were unavailable for comment on the case Wednesday.

There are a couple of issues here, starting with the plea deal that was offered to Russell. Politicians in Illinois regularly decry “gun violence” throughout the state, but in Russell’s case the felony gun possession charge was dismissed outright.


Then there’s the problem with Russell’s sentence. As KCRG reports, even with time off for good behavior Russell still should have been in prison, and even if his release went through all the proper channels he was supposed to be on supervised probation for another twelve months afterward. The Illinois Department of Correction can’t say when he was released from prison or why he’s not in their parole system, which is a huge issue. Is this early release and apparent lack of supervision an outlier case, or is this evidence of a more widespread problem within the state’s prison system?

These are the types of things that should keep Illinois lawmakers up at night, not scheming of ways to further infringe on the rights of lawful gun owners. How did a man now accused of murder walk out of a correctional facility when he should have been stuck behind bars? Why can the Department of Corrections find no mention of Russell in the parole system when he’s supposed to be on supervised release? How many other offenders are walking around instead of in custody?

In addition to going after legal gun owners, Illinois Democrats have also made it much more difficult to keep individuals who pose a threat to the community behind bars while they await trial. There’s at least a Sixth and Eighth Amendment argument to be made in favor of doing so, bu there’s no justification for the situation that KCRG-TV has uncovered. Instead of ensuring public safety, it sure looks like the state of Illinois is putting people at risk… and may even be partially to blame for the murder in Monticello, Iowa.



Join the conversation as a VIP Member