Former East Hampton Bonackers basketball star Michael Russell was sentenced on Tuesday, January 20, to one year in Suffolk County Jail for his role in two burglaries last summer.
The 18-year-old former point guard and co-captain led his team to the state finals last spring, and had intended to play basketball at Angelina Junior College in Lufkin, Texas this fall, but instead went on a crime spree that put him in jail.
Mr. Russell pleaded guilty in Suffolk County Court in Riverhead to charges of attempted burglary in the second degree, a class C felony, and felony possession of stolen property in the fourth degree. Misdemeanor charges of petit larceny and two counts of fourth-degree criminal mischief were dropped as part of his plea bargain, according to Mr. Russell’s attorney, Trevor Darrell of East Hampton.
Mr. Darrell said that his client had already served three months of his sentence and that he hoped he will serve just eight months more with good behavior.
“He’s taking his punishment. He learned his lesson,” said Mr. Darrell, who added that two colleges are still considering adding Mr. Russell to their rosters after he is released from jail.
Mr. Russell’s crime spree began on July 14, 2008, when he was involved in a burglary on Oak View Highway in East Hampton and stole a laptop and other electronics, which East Hampton Town Police said were worth $1,900.
He was also charged with breaking into two cars parked at the restaurant East by Northeast in Montauk on July 29, 2008, stealing $150 in cash and an iPod from one of the cars. He surrendered himself to East Hampton Town Police on August 14, 2008, where he was unable to post $11,500 in bail.
Mr. Russell had also been arrested in April 2007, after he and two friends attacked and attempted to rob a bicyclist on Springs-Fireplace Road, according to police.
He also faces felony sexual assault charges stemming from an incident last summer in Keene, New Hampshire, though Mr. Darrell would not comment on the nature of those charges. Mr. Russell’s attorney in New Hampshire, Larry Vogelman, did not return repeated calls for comment.
Mr. Russell, who is the grandson of Bonackers coach Ed Petrie, was known as Mikey on the basketball court. He also played football and lacrosse at East Hampton High School. He is the second highest scorer in the school’s basketball history. He averaged 16.5 points per game and holds the Bonackers’ record for three-point shots with a total of 267 in his high school career.