Criminal Court Jury Rules Harvey Not Guilty In Fatal Bar Stabbing

Thursday, March 15, 2018
Shawn Russell
Shawn Russell

A Criminal Court jury on Wednesday found Matthew Harvey not guilty in a fatal bar stabbing.

Prosecutor Kevin Brown had told the jury on Tuesday that Harvey's actions at a Hixson bar on April 5, 2016, were "unnecessary, unreasonable and excessive."

Defense attorney Ben McGowan countered that Harvey was coming to the aid of another man when he stabbed Shawn Russell, who soon died of a puncture wound to the heart. The attorney said, "He was taking action to stop a beating. It was not unnecessary, unreasonable or excessive."

Harvey was standing trial for voluntary manslaughter in the courtroom of Judge Tom Greenholtz.

Danielle Harvey, bartender at Rumor's Lounge on Hixson Pike, said Matt Harvey and P.J. Harvey came into the bar about 11:30 that night. None of the three Harveys are related to one another.

She said she knew Matt Harvey from high school, but was unacquainted with P.J. Harvey.

The witness said Shawn Russell and his girlfriend, Norrisha Hall, came in later.

She said P.J. Harvey became angry at Russell and began raising his arms and pulling off his shirt. She said she and others pushed him to the corner of the bar and thought they had him calmed down.

Russell came over and P.J. Harvey agreed to shake his hand.

However, she said P.J. Harvey later continued his tirade, causing Russell to hit him over the head with his pool stick. The witness said Russell then began punching P.J. Harvey repeatedly as he lay in the floor. Russell got up, then went back for another round of blows.

Ms. Harvey said afterward she saw that Russell was bleeding profusely from his chest. She said he stated, "I've been stabbed," then he walked a few feet and collapsed.

She said at the time she did not know who had stabbed him, but prosecutor Brown said most of the altercation was caught on video and it clearly showed that it was Matt Harvey who did the stabbing. It was noted that he had not gotten involved in the fracas until that time.

Both Harveys left the bar soon after the victim collapsed, it was stated.

Ms. Hall said she and Russell went out that night to celebrate the fact he had gotten a new job. She said they rented a car and went to Bud's, then to Diamond Billiards Club before landing at Rumors. She said they liked to go out, drink beer, and play pool.

The couple had been together four and a half years.

Ms. Hall said soon after they got to Rumors that P.J. Harvey began "yelling at us from across the bar." She said they did not know either of the Harveys prior to that night.

She said Russell at first ignored the taunts. However, she said he became enraged when P.J. Harvey, after the cool down period, called her "a whore." She said that came after she told Russell she wanted to leave and he said that P.J. Harvey had left. She said she pointed at Harvey to show he was still there.

Russell, 36, died after being taken to a hospital.

Harvey was 25 at the time of his arrest. He is free on bond.

 

Matt Harvey
Matt Harvey

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