Investigation Disocvery’s ‘Murder by Numbers: The Eastside Killer’ chronicles the story of George Waterfield Russell Jr. — a serial killer responsible for the murders of three women in Washington over the 1990 summer. Reports claimed he had sexual intercourse with the bodies and mutilated them before leaving the corpses in bizarre positions at the crime scenes. The episode features investigators involved in his case and narrates how he was finally arrested. If you’re interested in finding out more, including who his victims were and George’s current whereabouts, we’ve you covered. Let’s begin then, shall we?
Who Were George Russell’s Victims?
According to reports, George Waterfield Russell Jr. sexually assaulted and murdered three women in Washington between June and August 1990. He was accused of horribly mutilating and violating the corpses, posing them in various grotesque positions before leaving the crime scene in each case. Mary Ann Pohlreich was reportedly his first victim. Born on December 28, 1962, the 27-year-old’s unclothed body was found beside a McDonald’s restaurant dumpster in Bellevue in King County, Washington, on June 23, 1990.
Police sources stated Mary’s left foot was crossed over her right ankle, and her hands lay over her stomach, clutching a fir cone. Her autopsy report showed she had been brutally choked and beaten, causing severe injuries to her liver and spine. However, the worst aspect was that she had been sexually assaulted after her death. Carol Marie Jonart Beethe was born Robert J Jonart and Bernice G Cowan Jonart in Butte in Silver Bow County, Montana, on October 10, 1954. She moved to Bellevue after her marriage to Paul Beethe in 1976.
Around seven weeks after Carol’s horrific murder, one of her two daughters found the 35-year-old’s battered body in the bed of her East Bellevue home on August 9, 1990. The mother of two’s head had been beaten in, and she had bite marks on her arms and a dry-cleaning bag over her head. She had been attacked with such ferocity that it resulted in two broken ribs. The victim’s body also lay unclothed except for red high heels, and the killer had even inserted a Savage. 22 rifle inside her private parts.
George’s third victim, Andrea Sue “Randi” Levine, was born in West Point in Orange County, New York, in 1966. The police found the 24-year-old’s body on September 3, 1990. He had brutally beaten her with an aluminum baseball bat, splattering the room with blood. Police sources state the victim was found in a spread-eagled state with around 231 small knife wounds all over the body. According to reports, George had wiped down the bat and taken every knife from the house. The police theorized he had used a kitchen knife.
Where is George Russell Now?
George was born to Joyce and George Waterfield Russell Sr. in Florida in April 1958. His parents separated when he was an infant, and Joyce initially left him with his negligent grandmother when he was six months old. After she remarried, he took him to Mercer Island, Washington, to live with her new husband when George was in junior high school. According to reports, his abandonment issues and parental negligence allegedly pushed him into a world of crime since he was a teen.
Throughout his childhood and early adulthood, he boldly invaded homes as families slept inside and had a considerable criminal record, mostly involving thefts and burglaries. Reports claimed George often stood next to the bed of sleeping women, gazing silently at them. Law enforcement officials would later theorize that he gained perverse sexual gratification from his exploits. According to news reports, he got into trouble for truancy in 1971 and was given an opportunity to work at the Mercer Island Police Station rather than being punished.
The episode stated he would later use this experience to make women feel comfortable around him as he frequented cocktail lounges around Seattle in search of hook-ups. He was allegedly banned from a club after he was caught impersonating a police officer. He committed Mary’s murder a few months after this incident. The investigators zeroed in on him after an expert in sexualized crime stated the murders were the work of one individual. The suspicions gained traction after semen found in Mary matched his blood type.
The primary challenge faced by the investigators was to tie George to the murder of all three women. Eventually, he was tied to missing rings from the bodies of Carol Bleethe and Randi Levine. The forensics team also found small blood stains on a truck George borrowed on the night of Mary’s murder. The retrieved blood stain matched the victim’s blood type, and he was arrested on September 12, 1990. However, George pleaded innocent to all charges, though he bragged about being a fan of Ted Bundy in telephone interviews.
During George’s late 1991 trial, both the prosecution and defense brought experts in sexual homicide and behavioral profiling to the stand. The prosecutors also succeeded in admitting into evidence the controversial DNA tests for the hairs, semen, and blood stains. John Douglas, the famous FBI behaviorist, testified about finding a common pattern in all the rapes and murders, and the close time frame of all three homicides pointed to one perpetrator.
The testimony helped the jurors be convinced beyond circumstantial evidence and reasonable doubt that all three corpses constituted the unique “signature” of a single sociopathic killer. George was found guilty of one count of first-degree murder and two counts of aggravated first-degree murder in November 1991. The court sentenced him to two life imprisonment terms plus 28 years. According to court records, the 65-year-old is currently incarcerated at the Clallam Bay Corrections Center.
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