Michael Russell, 23, a former East Hampton High School basketball star, is back in jail again, this time facing four felony charges and a possible extended stay in a state prison system, although which state would incarcerate him is yet to be determined.
Mr. Russell, known as Mikey, has been in and out of criminal courts and jails across the Northeast. He is facing multiple felony charges in Massachusetts stemming from an alleged armed home invasion robbery, and has been convicted of felonies twice before.
According to East Hampton Village police, Mr. Russell stole two credit cards from an acquaintance early last month, then went shopping with those cards. “He made a purchase on Sept. 2 at Sneakerology, of three pairs of sneakers,” Detective Lt. Anthony Long said Friday, forging the cardholder’s signature.
The East Hampton Village detective squad identified Mr. Russell as the alleged perpetrator after interviewing the victim and showing an array of photos to the store workers.
East Hampton Justice Lisa R. Rana told Mr. Russell Friday morning that by state law she was not permitted to set bail due to his two previous felony convictions.
“He was indicted on March 22,” Paul Jarvey, a spokesman for Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early, Jr., said Friday of the charges Mr. Russell is facing in Massachusetts. “He was indicted for four counts of home invasion, three counts of armed assault in a dwelling, two counts armed and masked robbery, armed burglary, armed assault to rob, all of which are felonies, as well as two misdemeanor counts of assault and battery.”
In Massachusetts he was released on $5,000 bail, on what is called in the state pre-trial probation, Mr. Jarvey said.
When Mr. Jarvey was told the current charges Mr. Russell is facing, he said, “it could have a bearing on his bail, which may well be revoked,” he said.
The most serious of the new charges against Mr. Russell are two felony counts of forgery, and he is also being charged with two counts of felony possession of stolen credit cards and two misdemeanor petit larceny counts.
Mr. Russell was a star at East Hampton High School despite his brushes with the law as a youthful offender. His court records were sealed until he turned 18. In 2008, when he was 18 and had a scholarship awaiting him at Angelina Junior College in Lufkin, Texas, Mr. Russell pled guilty to committing two burglaries. He had also been charged with breaking into cars and possession of stolen property.
While serving a year’s sentence in county jail, he was charged for another crime, one that allegedly occurred before he was sentenced: felony sexual assault in Keene, N.H. The disposition of that case is not known.
Still, given his basketball talents, schools continued to seek him out. On Jan. 27 of this year, he was the leading scorer for the Becker College Hawks, scoring 19 points in a loss to Newbury College. Just hours later, in the early morning of Jan. 28, Worcester police say that Mr. Russell and two other men, all wearing masks, forced their way into an apartment where four students at Worcester Polytechnic Institute lived. One of them was carrying a gun, police said.
They forced the four male students onto the ground as they went room to room. One of the victims struggled, and pulled Mr. Russell’s mask off, police said. That victim later recognized Mr. Russell, who fled with the two-still masked men, according to police.
Several hours later, Mr. Russell was taken into custody in his dorm room at Becker College.