Judge to review evidence in Club Blu shooting case; family says Kierra Russ innocent

A 23-year-old woman arrested in the Club Blu shootings has asked the judge to dismiss the case against her due to lack of evidence.

Kierra Russ appeared in court Friday to ask that the charges against her be dropped. Russ faces two counts of second-degree murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder.

Russ was arrested in December along with co-defendants Derrick Church, Demetrius O’Neal, Tajze Battle and Dontril Loggins after a years-long investigation into the mass shooting at the end of a teen club party that killed two and injured others in Fort Myers.

Stef’An Strawder, a Lehigh Acres basketball star, and 14-year-old Sean Archilles, a basketball player in his own right and member of the Crossover Youth Center at CityGate Ministries, were killed in the shooting.

According to a motion to dismiss filed by Russ’s attorney, the evidence against Russ amounts to little more than text messages exchanged with O’Neal weeks before the shooting and the night of July 25 when the shooting occurred.

In an interview with WINK News, Russ’ parents, Lekesha Gales and Sharone Russ, say Russ is innocent.

“We’re parents, that’s our baby. And we’re just wanting the truth to be revealed and that she’s, she’s innocent,” Gales said. “She’s innocent. She’s, she’s a good girl. No trouble. No, nothing. She needs to be out.”

Russ has been in Lee County Jail on $750,000 bond since her arrest.

“I’m a mother first and I know this case. You know, it’s been long. And, you know, with the respect of the victim’s family. We’re victims in this as well, you know, my daughter has been incarcerated. And we know for a fact that, you know, she’s innocent,” Gales said. “It’s tough for us as parents too. The victims have lost loved ones, but we’re losing a loved one as well. And I’m just overwhelmed with it all.”

Russ was scheduled to perform at the party, according to the motion.

In one text, she tells O’Neal “I see one opp wide open,” which investigators say referred to the “opposition” or “enemy.”

At 12:33 a.m., Russ texts O’Neal “we leaving.” O’Neal responds by asking “everybody?”

And Russ responds “yeah.”

The shooting occurs minutes after the text was received.

In their response to the motion to dismiss, the state argues that the text “incited, caused, encouraged, assisted, and/or advised the other person or persons to commit the crime.”

The judge decided to review the evidence and discuss the motion in a few weeks.

Russ will be back in court on June 3.

Russ’ parents say she has never been arrested.

“She’s not a criminal. She’s not a bad person,” Gales said. “We all have our flaws. But this is not one of her flaws. She’s not a murderer. She’s not a bad child at all. Like, you know. So this has been very overwhelming for our family.”

Reporter:Anika Henanger
Writer:Melissa Montoya
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