Russell's drug possession case heads to Alabama grand jury

MOBILE, Ala. -- A judge sent the drug possession case against JaMarcus Russell to a grand jury Wednesday, despite testimony that the codeine drink found at the former Oakland Raiders quarterback's home belonged to a longtime friend.

District Judge Charles McKnight questioned the credibility of the testimony given by Marcus Stevenson, who said he made the codeine-laced drink found in a July 5 raid at Russell's home.

Mobile County Sheriff's Deputy Johnny Thornton testified the orange-colored drink in Russell's bedroom appeared freshly poured. Investigators said Russell, who was in the bedroom, told them it was his Kool-Aid. Thornton said it later tested positive for codeine.

Thornton also said there were nine people in the house and a codeine bottle without a prescription was found in a cabinet.

Russell's attorney, Donald Briskman, said in an interview with The Associated Press after the hearing that the codeine bottle was in a cabinet at a distance from Russell's bedroom. He said Stevenson told an officer at the home that it belonged to him, not Russell, but they took no action against Stevenson.

"They didn't arrest him at the scene," Briskman said. "They targeted JaMarcus. ... He should have been discharged today."

Stevenson testified at the hearing that he mixed the drink and didn't make it for Russell. After the hearing, Stevenson was handcuffed and charged with possession of a controlled substance. He was released on bond.

Stevenson's attorney, Greg Evans, raised objections to the questioning of his client, citing his rights against self-incrimination. He later said Stevenson "was sworn to tell the truth, and that is what he did."

Russell was a star in high school in Mobile and in college at LSU, then became the No. 1 pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. However, he was released by the Raiders this year after three disappointing seasons.

It could be months before the grand jury decides if the evidence warrants an indictment or not.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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