Man sentenced to over 10 years for murder of baby daughter in 2009

A man who pleaded guilty to killing his baby daughter in 2009 has been sentenced to over 10 years in prison, followed by 46 months of supervised release.

According to court documents, Benjamin Alexander Russell, 38, was sentenced Monday after pleading guilty to second-degree murder earlier this year. A judge ordered Russell to serve 11½ years in prison but granted him credit for 389 days in jail.

Charges were filed in Anoka County in July 2022 when the baby’s mother told police that Russell admitted to her that he killed their child.

Russell said he held a pillow over the child’s face to “muffle the sound” of her crying while he went outside to smoke a cigarette, according to court records.

The complaint states that he then called 911 after returning and seeing the child’s face was blue.

Russell reportedly told the mother that she had given him “the perfect alibi” because she had told him to take the pillows and blankets out of the crib the night before. That led him to lie to investigators about using a blanket to prop up the bottle “since he knew the blankets shouldn’t have been there,” documents show.

Detectives also spoke to others who said that Russell admitted to putting a pillow over the child’s face. Those people also “expressed great concern” because he also has two other young children and is “often overwhelmed caring for them,” according to court documents.