Domestic violence suspect's request to remove GPS device is denied



ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Only Channel 9 was there Thursday as the first of Orange County's domestic violence suspects fitted with a mandatory GPS monitor tried to get it taken off. Even though, just this week, he broke the GPS rules.

John Russell is accused of beating his wife.

"Do you object to the GPS monitoring being removed?" the judge asked Russell's wife.

"I would like him to keep it," she said.

She said her husband head-butted her and put her in a choke hold last fall.

On Thursday Russell asked a judge to allow him to have the device removed.

"[The GPS device] was interfering with the ... excuse me, the, the, um, the rehabilitation the VA wanted to give me, the Veterans Administration," Russell told a judge.

Russell is one of the 11 domestic violence offenders ordered to wear a GPS device since the courts began the GPS pilot program six weeks ago. He's the only one to ask for it to be removed.

Channel 9 discovered that he and three others have violated the order.

When there's a violation the GPS monitoring company immediately calls the victim, and then patch in police over a three-way call so the victim knows whether he or she is in danger.

Officials said in all of those instances the system worked.

"It does provide an added layer of protection that previously did not exist for survivors," said Kat Kennedy with Harbor House of Central Florida.

Despite his plea, and to the relief of his wife, Russell didn't get what he wanted.

"The reason why I want it taken off is because..." said Russell.

"I know why you want it taken off and you're not taking it off," said the judge.

"...Because it's affecting my physical therapy," said Russell.

"I'm not taking it off," said the judge.

The pilot program will run through June, unless more funding becomes available.