White supremacist sentenced to life in prison over hit-and-run murder of black teenager

Russell Courtier to serve at least 28 years in prison before he is eligible for parole

Chris Stevenson
Wednesday 17 April 2019 12:49
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Russell Courtier ran Larnell Bruce down in his Jeep
Russell Courtier ran Larnell Bruce down in his Jeep

A white supremacist who killed a young black man by running him over has been sentenced to life in prison.

The sentence, which includes at least 28 years without the possibility of parole, comes after Russell Courtier was convicted of murdering 19-year-old Larnell Bruce in a hit-and-run incident in Oregon in 2016.

In March, a jury found Courtier, 40, guilty of hit-and-run driving, murder and the hate crime of second-degree imitation. His latest sentence will be served on top of a four-year term previously received for an attack in a bar in 2015.

Courtier and Colleen Hunt were in a Jeep driven by Courtier in August 2016 when he was encouraged by Hunt to drive into Mr Bruce after the two got into a fistfight outside a convenience store in the Portland suburb of Gresham, according to prosecutors.

They argued Courtier was motivated by white supremacist beliefs, as he was an “unapologetic” member of the European Kindred white supremacist prison gang and was wearing a baseball cap bearing the gang's logo when he met Mr Bruce. Courtier also had a tattoo of the logo on his leg.

Prosecutor David Hannon said that CCTV footage showed the pair getting into an altercation, but it was unclear how it started. Prosecutors described Courtier as “violent,” according to The Oregonian/OregonLive.

The surveillance video showed Mr Bruce running down a street in an attempt to get away from Courtier, who chased Mr Bruce in the vehicle and hit him. Mr Bruce died a number of days later.

Courtier did not speak during the sentencing when offered the chance by the judge, with his lawyers having advised him against it.

However, Courtier teared-up in court when Mr Bruce's mother, Christina Miles, said that he “allowed the devil to misguide you and take the life of such a beautiful young spirit.”

The victim's father, Larnell Bruce Sr, told court he hoped Courtier would spend his time in prison thinking about whether he wants his own son, who is eight years old, to grow up surrounded by white supremacist beliefs.

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“That ideology that you have is not good for anybody,” Mr Bruce Sr said.

The other person in the vehicle, Hunt, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and agreed to accept a 10-year sentence.

Associated Press contributed to this report

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