A man who has been repeatedly convicted of assault fled from State Troopers in St. Mary's last week and law enforcement still hasn't found him. Russell Cornelius, age 30, is accused of attacking his girlfriend with a machete and then chasing her through the village with a chainsaw.
According to an affidavit filed by State Trooper Kevin Yancey, Cornelius punched his girlfriend in the arm, grabbed a loaded rifle, and then threatened to kill her and her children. She told Troopers that he put down the rifle eventually, but then grabbed a machete instead. He swung the blade at her, but she blocked it with the cellphone she was holding and the machete shattered it in her hands. It was at this point, she said, that she managed to get out of the house with her children.
The affidavit states that Cornelius’ girlfriend sought refuge at her sister’s house, but Cornelius allegedly followed her there. He pounded on the door, but she wouldn’t let him in. So he threatened to come back with a chainsaw and left.
They ran for it as soon as he was gone. According to the affidavit, the girlfriend, her children, and her sister ran out of the house and piled into the girlfriend’s sister’s truck. As they drove away, they said that they could see Cornelius coming after them on his four-wheeler with a chainsaw in his hand.
When they drove toward the Trooper post, Cornelius reportedly stopped following them. The family hid in the truck behind the St. Mary’s clinic until they were sure that he was gone.
The girlfriend and her sister promptly reported the crime to Trooper Yancey, who set out to find Cornelius. Later that day, he approached three men near the St. Mary's tree line and asked if they had seen him. One of the men turned on his heel and ran into the woods, and the other two identified him as Cornelius. He hasn’t been seen since.
The incident occurred on November 1, though the Troopers didn’t release a report on it until November 8.
Cornelius is charged with third and fourth degree assault. He has pled guilty to assault six times in the past six years, and his girlfriend's sister told Trooper Yancey that he had made threats in the past.
If you have any information about his whereabouts, please call the St. Mary’s Troopers at 907-438-2019.