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Third suspect in Monessen home invasion nabbed

| Wednesday, April 2, 2014, 12:31 a.m.

A Donora man wanted in connection with a Monessen home invasion was arrested by Monongahela police during a traffic stop Monday.

Jonte Russell, 29, of 201 McKean Ave. was stopped about 2 p.m. at the intersection of Second and West Main streets, Monongahela police said.

In the Monessen case, Russell is charged with burglary, robbery, criminal conspiracy, aggravated assault, possession of a firearms prohibited, firearms not to be carried without a license, recklessly endangering another person, theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property.

Russell is the third person arrested for the alleged home invasion Nov. 15, 2013, at 229 Aliquippa Ave., in Monessen.

Derrell Lejaun Mack, 33, of 500 Second St., Apt. 302, Pitcairn, and Jamar Atkinson, 28, of 411 Peebles St., Apt. 3, Pittsburgh, each waived their rights to preliminary hearings in the case Jan. 4 before Magisterial District Judge Joseph Dalfonso in Monessen.

Mack and Atkinson are each charged with burglary, robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, conspiracy–theft by unlawful taking, conspiracy–receiving stolen property, aggravated assault, possession of firearms prohibited, firearms not to be carried without a license, recklessly endangering another person, theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property.

Mack additionally is charged with two counts each of receiving stolen property; manufacture, delivery, or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance; possession of a controlled substance; and a single count of possession of firearms prohibited.

According to an affidavit of probable cause, Rebecca Thompson told police she was awakened by three black men, who repeatedly asked the whereabouts of Eddie Bell.

One of the suspects held a small, black handgun to her head, the affidavit stated.

Thompson told police she was led through the house and asked about the location of drugs and money.

The suspects allegedly took an X-Box 360, a television, Thompson's ATM bank card and a cell phone.

After she told them she didn't have money in the house, the assailants allegedly asked how much Bell would pay to get her back.

They placed Thompson in the basement and left, after which she called 911.

In the wake of the alleged home invasion, Donora police stopped an SUV they had been seeking and arrested Mack.

At the time, Donora police were looking for Mack and two other black men in connection with a home invasion in Donora.

A search of the vehicle revealed Thompson's stolen items, two loaded handguns, 10 stamp bags of suspected heroin and a blood-stained black wool jacket.

Monessen police believe the blood was from a suspect who was injured breaking into the Monessen residence.

Interviewed at the Monessen police station, Mack said he received a phone call earlier in the night from a man he knew only as Jamar. Mack told police he picked up Jamar and a man he did not know.

The unidentified man told Mack and Jamar that “Special” – also known as Aaron Bell – had 300 bricks of heroin in his house. Bell is Thompson's son, police said.

Woes mount

After Russell was arrested Monday, he was taken to Monongahela Valley Hospital in Carroll Township because police thought he might have ingested “evidence,” Chief Brian Tempest said.

He was later transferred to UPMC-Presbyterian in Pittsburgh.

Russell ultimately surrendered to U.S. marshals in Pittsburgh because he was wanted in Erie on a federal probation violation related to a drug offense.

Charged in federal court in 2003, Russell pleaded guilty June 28, 2005, to manufacture/delivery, possessions of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance, use of drug paraphernalia, tampering with physical evidence and loitering in aid of drug offenses.

He was sentenced to 51 months probation and 40 hours of community service.

Russell's probation was revoked in June 2005 and he was sentenced to 10 to 24 months in prison.

Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or