Inmate says he tricked accused Punta Gorda killer into confession

Published: Updated:
Michael J Russo (Photo courtesy of the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office)

PUNTA GORDA, Fla.Ā A fellow inmate says he tricked an accused killer into confessing.

The informant falsely claimed he had been booked on murder charges and was working as a law clerk in an effort to get information he could use to reduce his own sentence, court documents show.

He made the claims to Michael Russo, who’s charged with second-degree murder and first-degree arson in the death of Kyle Farishian, 18, whose body was found following a fire at the 7-Eleven at Bal Harbor Boulevard and Aqui Esta Drive in November 2015.

“If somebody murders somebody and tells me about it, I’m going to use it to my advantage and I’m going to tell the right people,” the informant said in a deposition. “You shouldn’t kill people and you shouldn’t tell people that you did it.”

The informant backs up the story of another inmate who testified that Russo described to him how he set the deadly fire. ButĀ Mark De Sisto, Russo’s attorney, said that inmate fabricated his testimony in hopes of getting something in return.

De Sisto also questioned the veracity of the new informant’s claims during the deposition.

The new informant also helped prosecutors in high-profile cases against David McMannis, the man convicted of killing Tara Sidarovich, and Keith Wilson, the man accused of torturing and killing 4-year-old Pilar Rodriguez.

Jury selection for Russo’s trial is scheduled for Tuesday.

Copyright Ā©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.