Man wanted in 40-year-old rape case agrees to be extradited
Russell Benjamin Pearce, 73, also known as Russell Stengle, appeared before Judge D. Michael Stine in Schuylkill County court Tuesday for a hearing on an extradition request filed by the governor of New York to have him brought to Sullivan County Justice Court to face rape charges hanging over him for the past 40 years.
He was apprehended last week while living in Shenandoah. Pearce voluntarily gave up his right to a hearing on the extradition and has agreed to be transported to Sullivan County to stand trail. After his arrest Pearce was arraigned before District Justice Anthony J. Kilker in Shenandoah and committed to the county prison in lieu of $100,000 bail.
According to police records, Pearce was indicted on a charge of the rape of a woman on June 13, 1970, in Fallsburg, Sullivan County. According to information filed to court, a woman was walking along a road to meet her husband when she was offered a ride by a man on a motorcycle who took her to a wooded area and allegedly raped her over the course of four hours. The woman later identified Pearce as the rapist by a photo lineup.
Pearce had a criminal record as he was previously arrested in New Jersey on a sexual assault charge and he jumped bail and fled and was able to remain free until discovered in Shenandoah. Pearce gave himself away when he called New York police by cell phone to find out if charges against him were pending and officials were able to trace the call to Shenandoah.
Two others being held in the county prison received hearings before Stine on extradition requests.
The governor of New Jersey asked for Wild E. Oster, 19, to be brought to that state to face charges against him and the governor of Virginia filed extradition papers to have Golden V. Brooks, 37, be brought to face open charges against him in that state.