BENNINGTON — A New York man accused in the brutal murder of a Bennington resident at the Green Mountain substation off Route 9 last October was arraigned in a Bennington courthouse Monday.
The alleged gunman, Elliot Russell, 46, also known as “Face,” is formerly of Brooklyn, N.Y. Last fall, he was released from a Vermont jail after being convicted in 2007 of attempted murder for stabbing a man in front of a bar on Main Street in Bennington. Russell was sentenced to 13 to 15 years behind bars in that case.
Russell was arrested in Rensselaer County, N.Y., just days after the Bennington shooting on the night of Oct. 26 after the Bennington Police Department provided information to New York authorities on where he might be found. Russell’s extradition back to Vermont to stand trial in the murder case was delayed three months by authorities in New York, who charged Russell with several other unrelated charges, including pistol-whipping an individual in the Hoosick Falls area.
Ulysses Ivey, 39, of Bennington, was killed in the October shooting shortly after 8 p.m. along a stretch of Route 9 near the Green Mountain Power substation west of Route 279. Ivey was pronounced dead at the scene. According to police, a 911 call came in at about 8:20 p.m. Police and rescue personnel responded to the location and found Ivey with a fatal gunshot wound. Rescue workers attempted to render aid but were unsuccessful.
Russell appeared in court Monday via video link from the Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield, where he is being held without bail. He pleaded not guilty to the single charge.
Defense Attorney Daniel McGuire revealed during argument that Russell’s girlfriend, Erin Wilson, who is also charged in the murder with being an accessory, is pregnant and due with a child in July. She is currently released on bail with conditions, including no contact with Russell. McGuire unsuccessfully argued that, due to Wilson’s pending pregnancy, both should have contact. Judge Kerry McDonald-Cady disagreed and included the no-contact requirement on Russell.
Ivey’s family reached out to the Banner after the murder to reveal the man behind the name of the victim in the case.
“My brother was a good man,” said Ulysa Ivey, big sister to Ulysses, in a phone call with the Banner from her home in South Carolina. “He had five daughters who he loved with all his heart. He was my baby.”
“My brother was trying to do it right. He wasn’t perfect, but he was trying to live his life right. He was all about strength and his family,” she said.
“You have to understand, we were in foster care for years,” she said. “I basically raised him, made sure that we all kept in touch with each other. There were 16 of us, all together. For our family to be broken apart at such an early age, for him to have the tenacity and the strength and to become who he was becoming, my brother’s going to be known for everything that he’s been through,” she said.
“He’s my baby brother. I’m so proud of him.”
Russell faces a maximum of life imprisonment with a presumptive 20 years behind bars if found guilty.