The man who is accused of kidnapping and murdering a Crossett woman earlier this year was given a mental evaluation as part of his pre-trial process earlier this week.

Brian J. Russell of Crossett was formally charged with first degree murder and abuse of a corpse in connection with the murder of Shannon Jordan Ridener in March of this year.

Since that time, Russell has been in the custody of the Ashley County Detention Center.

Circuit Judge Bynum Gibson ordered Oct. 18 that the Russell be transported on Nov. 6 to the Arkansas State Hospital in Little Rock for a mental evaluation.

Gibson first ordered the mental evaluation June 26 after the defendant’s attorney filed a motion a motion stating that “mental disease or defect may be raised as a defense in this matter.”

A representative in the 10th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney’s Office said the next hearing on this case will be after the prosecutor receives the results of the mental evaluation, which she said could take a couple of months.

The case has no other pending hearings or trial dates at this time.

Though Russell was formally charged in the murder case in March, he has been incarcerated at the Ashley County Jail on outstanding warrants since Feb. 2 after he was arrested for a DUI in another county, and his car was impounded.

Police reports from the time said that Ridener’s shoes were allegedly found in Russell’s car.

Ridener was first reported missing in late January, and Feb. 15 an off-duty game warden found Ridener’s body near Beech Creek south of Hermitage on U.S. Highway 63.

The crime lab’s autopsy said that Ridener’s cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head, and the death was ruled a homicide.

During the investigation, the police recovered surveillance videos of Russell and Ridener at a convenience store in Bastrop wearing the same clothes she was found in. After Ridener’s body was found, investigator’s reports said Russell’s roommate told law enforcement officers that, “Brian called her and asked her to clean the house that he had just killed Shannon because they got into a fight.”

The roommate reported that she did go to the house to mop and clean and that “there was a lot of blood on the floor and a large stain on the carpet.”

The roommate said that she cleaned the house and left and didn’t report sooner because she feared for her own life.

No one other than Russell has been charged in the case.

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