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White couple accused of murder, hate crime in death of Vancouver 19-year-old go on trial in Portland

first_imgRussell Courtier PORTLAND — Lawyers are expected to make opening statements Thursday in the trial of a white couple accused of intentionally running over and killing an African American teenager from Vancouver on a Gresham, Ore., street.The August 2016 killing of 19-year-old Larnell Bruce Jr. of Vancouver stirred widespread public outrage after authorities announced they believed both of his alleged killers were motivated by white supremacist beliefs. The news thrust Oregon into the national media spotlight as another place where America’s racial divide has festered and turned deadly.Russell Orlando Courtier, now 40, is accused of brawling in front of a 7-Eleven convenience store with Bruce, then jumping into the driver’s seat of his Jeep and mowing Bruce down as the teen tried to run for his life.Courtier’s girlfriend, Colleen Catherine Hunt, now 37, is accused of egging him on while in front of the store or while sitting in the passenger seat of the Jeep, yelling “Get him, baby!” and “Run him over!” according to witnesses.In pretrial hearings, the prosecution played surveillance video that captured a seconds-long chase. It shows the Jeep doing a 270-degree turn to follow Bruce, the Jeep driving onto the sidewalk as Bruce sprints out of the street and Bruce running out of camera view an instant before he was struck. Bruce died of a traumatic brain injury three days later in the hospital on Aug. 13, 2016.last_img

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