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40 years for 2009 Herndon murder

Tom Jackman

A Fairfax County man who admitted strangling and stabbing his girlfriend to death last year was given the maximum sentence, 40 years, for second-degree murder on Friday by a Fairfax judge.

Siobhan L. Russell, 19, was found slain inside the Herndon-area bedroom of Lee T. Wiggins on April 12, 2009. Wiggins was 17 at the time but prosecuted as an adult, as Virginia law requires for all murder suspects 14 or older.

Russell's parents later discovered scores of disturbing text messages from Wiggins, and said they planned to launch a dating-violence awareness campaign in their daughter's memory.

Russell had recently graduated from Mountain View High School, and was one of the featured speakers at the school's graduation ceremony.

Prosecutors said Wiggins, now 19, choked Russell, then stabbed her in the heart. He pleaded guilty in May to second-degree murder, with no agreement with prosecutors on a sentence.

Fairfax Circuit Court Judge David S. Schell, faced with a sentencing range of five to 40 years, imposed the maximum term.

-- Tom Jackman

By Tom Jackman  | October 25, 2010; 3:50 PM ET
Categories:  Fairfax, From the Courthouse, Homicide, Juvenile Justice, Tom Jackman, Updates  
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