published Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Hearing set for man accused in slaying

A 29-year-old Chattanooga man accused of murder has his hearing date set.

Brandon Eugene Russell will have a preliminary hearing on March 15, a date set by Judge Christie Mahn Sell. Court-appointed defense attorney Kevin Loper will represent Russell in the hearing.

Russell is in custody and faces charges of felony murder and especially aggravated robbery. His total bond has been set at $300,000 but because he violated parole for a 2009 aggravated robbery conviction he is not allowed, under state law, to make bond.

Chattanooga police arrested Russell on Jan. 9, three days after a cleaning lady found the beaten body of Meco Siler in her room at a local extended-stay motel.

An autopsy report showed that Siler, a mother of three, had been stabbed dozens of times. Witness Joseph Fields told police that Russell said he planned to rob Siler of drugs she had in her room at the Country Hearth Suites on 20th Street.

Siler's killing was Hamilton County's first homicide of 2011.

Family members of Russell declined to comment following Tuesday's hearing.

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