COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Robert Russel, a prominent local figure best known for his five-term run as El Paso County District Attorney has passed away at the age of 82.
Russel died Wednesday, surrounded by family and friends at St. Francis Select Care in Colorado Springs. He had fought an extended battle with lung cancer.
In an era where no other local D.A. has won more than two terms, Russel?s 20-years of service was without equal. Russel is widely credited with building the D.A.?s office from the ground up. He was the only full-time prosecutor working for the district when he won his first term in 1965, but the department grew in both size and reputation under his tutelage.
In addition to mentoring countless attorneys, including current State Attorney General John Suthers, Russel will be remembered as a great innovator in his field.
Russel created the nation?s first juvenile diversion program to keep young offenders out of jail. He also started an economic crimes division that remains to this day, and was the first D.A. to hire a female deputy, Ellen Chestnut, to serve alongside him.
Russel is survived by seven children, Funeral arrangements are being handled by Shrine of Remembrance. Keep it right here and on KRDO-NewsChannel 13 for specific details as they are made available.