Alleged attacker pleads not guilty to manslaughter

An Aberdeen man has denied newly filed manslaughter charges in connection with the drunken fight that led to the death of a 51-year-old Moclips man last month.

Charles B. Russell, 23, of Aberdeen, pleaded not guilty Monday to first-degree manslaughter charges in the death of Richard Luce. Investigators believe Russell attacked Luce over a drunken insult on Feb. 15, beating Luce and leaving him to die overnight along Otis Avenue in Moclips.

Court records stated one witness heard Russell and Luce arguing near the Moclips Grocery at about 9 p.m. First spotting them near the intersection of Otis Avenue and Highway 109, the witness said he could tell they were arguing by the tone of voices.

Court records stated the witness went into the grocery store to tell the owner while continuing to watch the fight through the windows. He said he watched as they fought on the ground. He then passed the fight when he left on his bicycle.

Court records stated the Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Office received a call shortly after 9 p.m. from a different witness. The caller reported hearing two men fighting and mentioned someone had yelled, “What are you going to do about it?”

Luce’s body was discovered about 12 hours later on Thursday morning in a ditch just down the road from the grocery store, court records stated.

Investigators then identified and located Russell at a home in Taholah with the help of witness descriptions and tips. Quinault Indian Nation police helped take him into custody.

Court records stated Russell later acknowledged getting into an altercation with Luce. Russell remains in custody on $200,000 bail.