Quanrude sentenced to minimum of 35 years in prison following second degree murder conviction

by Lissa Blake

A Waukon man could spend the next 35 to 50 years behind bars for an April 16 fatal shooting.

Monday, October 1, District Judge John Bauercamper sentenced John Michael Quanrude, age 32, to 50 years in prison for the Second Degree Murder of his stepfather and roommate, 60-year-old Dean Russell of Waukon. Last month, Quanrude was found guilty in that fatal shooting incident by a 12-person jury in a case heard in the Allamakee County Courthouse. The crime took place April 16 of this year in the home the two shared at 49 Jean Road in the Parkview Trailer Court in Waukon.

Before hearing from the attorneys Monday, Bauercamper acknowledged a letter he had received from Quanrude’s aunt, Dianne (Quanrude) Estes, asking for leniency in sentencing. Bauercamper noted Quanrude’s sentence was mandatory and he had no authority to change that.

Susan Krisko, assistant attorney general for the State of Iowa, began her comments by saying the Russell family had asked for a no-contact order concerning the Quanrude family. “There has been some contact between the jury verdict and now. Mr. Russell’s family does not want to discuss this case with Mr. Quanrude’s family,” said Krisko.

Bauercamper asked Krisko for the names of the people who did not want to be contacted, and said he would consider granting the no-contact order later.

Krisko also asked about restitution, which is typically $150,000 in these types of cases. The judge said he would address that and asked if an estate had been opened for Russell.

When Bauercamper asked Quanrude’s lawyer, Scott J. Nelson, if he wished to make a statement, Nelson replied, “If it is a mandatory sentence, no amount of elocution is going to change that.”

The sentencing hearing Monday was the first time Quanrude took the opportunity to speak in court, as he did not testify on his own behalf during his trial. Addressing Russell’s family, Quanrude said, “I know how things look. I’m not guilty. I loved Dean with all my heart and soul. I hope, in time, the truth will come forward, and you will understand that, so that I can live my life to honor him.”

The court next heard victim impact statements from two of Russell’s sisters, Bonnie Russell of Luana and Vicky Easton of Waukon. Russell said April 16 was “the most life-changing, horrific event.”

She described her brother, Dean, as a kind, gentle, caring man with a big heart as big as the world. She said his murder “changed our lives forever in ways no one could imagine” and rebuked Quanrude for a “total reckless choice of disregard for human life.”

In conclusion, she said, “I ask the court to give John (Quanrude) the same leniency he gave my brother, Dean.”

Next to speak was Easton, who described her brother as a kind, gentle, soft-spoken man. “He treated you as a son. I wonder what your mother would say about you killing Dean,” said Easton. “You called him Dad for 20 years. I don’t understand how you can sit at trial and look at pictures of Dean and show no remorse. The word for that is ‘Sociopath’.”

Easton added, “The snowjob you give your family doesn’t work for me, ripping your family and our family apart. For once in your life, be a man, and live with the consequences of what you’ve done.”

She next asked Quanrude to stop playing the victim. “Dean is the victim… The only peace I have is that Dean is in heaven with the love of his life, Barb - your mom,” she concluded.

Following Iowa code, Bauercamper next handed down Quanrude’s punishment, a sentence not to exceed 50 years in prison. He said the sentence could eventually be reduced by the Iowa Board of Parole, based on his conduct while in the prison system; however, because he was convicted of a forcible felony, he will not be eligible for parole or a reduction in his sentence until 70 percent (35 years) of his sentence has been served.

Bauercamper also ordered Quanrude to pay restitution to Russell’s family in the amount of $150,000. In addition, he will be responsible for any out-of-pocket losses the family experienced as a result of Russell’s death, but added Quanrude would be entitled to a hearing if he wishes to dispute any of those claims.

He added Quanrude will be required to pay for the time he has spent in the Allamakee County Jail as well as a law enforcement surcharge. “I realize your income will be limited by your incarceration, so I will not require you reimburse the State of Iowa (for his defense),” Bauercamper noted.

Quanrude will be held in the Allamakee County jail until he is turned over to the Iowa Department of Corrections. He will be required to submit a DNA sample for profiling and will be taken to the Iowa Medical and Classification Center in Coralville.

Bauercamper told Quanrude he is entitled to an appeal, and has 30 days to file one. He will not be required to reimburse the State for any cost incurred in filing an appeal.

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