Idaho “cannibal” charged after cops find microwaved body parts

James David Russell allegedly believed eating victim’s flesh would “cure his brain.”


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James David Russell (pictured) allegedly killed David Flaget and consumed some of his remains in the belief it would “cure his brain”
(Bonner County Sheriff’s Office)

A crazed Idaho man has been charged with murder and cannibalism after mutilated human remains and a blood-soaked microwave were found at his home.

James David Russell, 39, is accused of killing 70-year-old David Flaget in September and consuming part of his flesh, according to an amended criminal complaint filed last Wednesday and cited by the Bonners Ferry Herald.

Russell was arrested after cops found Flaget’s partial remains in a vehicle parked outside the alleged killer’s Clark Fork home on September 10.

elderly man wearing hat and glasses
The remains of David Flaget were found on September 10

During a search of the home itself, police seized a blood-covered microwave, a glass bowl and a knife.

Authorities also discovered pieces of Flaget’s body inside the residence, including a so-called “thermal artifact,” where heat is applied to only a portion of human remains and not the entire body.

Russell believed he could “heal himself by cutting off portions of flesh” in order to “cure his brain,” according to a probable cause affidavit cited by the local newspaper.

He had apparently used a clean-up kit to destroy some evidence of the crime and parts of Flaget’s body are still missing, authorities said.

Russell was originally taken into custody in September on a murder charge but prosecutors added the cannibalism charge last week.

The case is believed to be the first cannibalism charge in Idaho, according to Bonner County Detective Phillip Stella.

“There’s a lot of facets we will certainly never know,” Stella told local media.

“It wasn’t the bloodiest crime scene, but it’s more of the psychological, ‘What the heck is going on here?’ and ‘Why am I picking up pieces?’ It’s a walk down the dark path that we don’t see very often.”

Court proceedings in the case were temporarily halted in October after a judge ordered Russell to undergo a mental evaluation.

Russell is scheduled to appear for a review hearing on December 28.

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