A man charged with beating and strangling his girlfriend to death inside her Woodstock apartment March 3 has been re-indicted on an additional charge related to her death, racking up a total of seven charges, according to court records.
Michael Russell, 41, was indicted this week in Cherokee County Superior Court on one count of violation of the Georgia Controlled Substance Act in addition to six charges he was previously indicted on.
He was initially indicted by a grand jury in May on one count of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated battery, false imprisonment and two counts of aggravated assault.
The body of Christy Waller, a 41-year-old mother of two, was discovered by the woman’s children following what police called a domestic incident between her and Russell.
According to the latest indictment filed Tuesday, Russell beat and strangled his girlfriend, hitting her with his hands and a piece of a laptop computer, “repeatedly striking (Waller) about her head, face, extremities and body, causing multiple lacerations and contusions.”
The indictment also says a bone in the woman’s left arm was “rendered useless” and that Russell had methamphetamine, a schedule II controlled substance, in his possession at the time Waller’s death.
Although court records now show the woman was strangled, police said at the time preliminary evidence indicated Waller died of blunt force trauma.
Woodstock Police were dispatched to the Alta Ridgewalk apartment complex where the woman lived at about 4 p.m. the day of her death, police spokeswoman Brittany Duncan said at the time of the incident.
“Her kids found her and they called 911,” she said, adding that Woodstock Police responded to four calls at the residence in the months before Waller’s death.
Russell was apprehended in Woodstock later that evening and charged in the woman’s death.
“While the investigation is ongoing, this appears to be a case of domestic violence,” Duncan said at the time.
Waller’s daughter is 17 years old and her son is 11, the woman’s friends told the Tribune in an earlier interview.
A GoFundMe account set up by Waller’s daughter raised nearly $11,000 to help cover her mother’s funeral expenses in May.
“My mom’s life was taken by a careless man that was her boyfriend for a little bit over (two) years,” she wrote on the fundraising page. “Me and my brother are left without our mom that we loved so much, and I wouldn’t want to wish this pain upon anybody.”
Austell resident Michelle Donohue, a longtime friend of Waller, described her as an incredible woman who would do anything for her children. She said the hardworking mother “always had a smile on her face.”
“She was such a good person,” Donahue said in May. “She seemed happy and I never heard him say anything mean to her or anything like that.”
Donahue said the two dated back in high school, but reconnected about two years ago.
“She loved him. I know that,” she said. “She was crazy about him and he seemed to be crazy about her.”
The two had been in a relationship but were no longer living with each other, according to Tuesday’s indictment.
“It’s really messed up because she was such a good person,” Donahue said of her friend. “She was the type of person who would always help anyone that needed it.”
Russell remains in custody at the Cherokee County Adult Detention Center where he is being held without bond.
His arraignment is set for July 13 at 9 a.m. in front of Superior Court Judge Jackson Harris, according to court documents.