The parents of a former Fort Drum soldier said they supported their son in Herkimer County Court on Monday when he agreed to a plea deal that will likely keep him in prison for more than a decade.
David and Deborah Marcum, whose son was the subject of a three-day manhunt in multiple counties in September 2011 after escaping from military police, said, however, they are not satisfied with how their son’s case has been handled.
Former U.S. Army Pfc. Russell Marcum, 21, pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree burglary on Monday and faces a total of 10 years in prison when he is due to be sentenced by Judge John Brennan on Monday, Aug. 6, prosecutors said.
This sentence will run consecutive to Marcum’s other sentences of 1 1/3 to 4 years in Oswego County and 1 to 3 years in Cortland County, prosecutors said.
Calls to Carpenter’s office and public defender Donald Manley’s office were not returned on Monday.
Russell Marcum was arrested in the town of Dryden in Tompkins County on Sept. 17 without incident after leading authorities on a manhunt. The chain of events started when he escaped from military officials on Sept. 15 after stealing a $700 plasma television from a storage locker in Watertown.
Marcum used his parents’ vehicle and led authorities on a car chase through Herkimer, Oneida, Onondaga, Otsego and Madison counties. It was in Herkimer County, near West Winfield, where stop spikes were deployed and Marcum eventually crashed his vehicle in the Otsego County town of Richfield on State Route 20, near the intersection of Cole Hill and Skinner roads.
He eluded authorities in the woods around West Winfield until late Sept. 16, when he stole a 2006 white Buick. The vehicle was pursued in the town of Virgil, where Marcum abandoned the vehicle and fled on foot into a wooded area, state police said, and was eventually apprehended.
During Marcum’s plea, he admitted to entering two homes on West Main Street in West Winfield on Sept. 16 and 17 and taking a handgun from one residence before leaving the firearm in the other, Carpenter said. Nobody was home at the time of those break-ins.
David Marcum said during a telephone interview on Monday he believes his son is a good person who got into some trouble. He said his son will “shovel the snow off the driveway for an elderly lady and not charge her anything for it. He was involved in Christian ministries at a youth group in a high school.” He also said his son’s dream was to be in the military.
“That’s all he wanted to be, is to be in the Army,” said David Marcum. “He made his commitment before being a senior in high school.”
David Marcum said his son served for 90 days in Afghanistan doing routine patrols in the ground and air. He said he also believes his son is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder from his time overseas.
Page 2 of 2 - Although Russell Marcum’s mental stability was discussed during previous court proceedings, the issue was not raised at the time of his plea.
Contributing: GateHouse News Service