|Nevada State Prison Inmate Case Files
Thomas "Tommy" Russell was convicted of murder in Elko county in eastern Nevada in December of 1922 for the September 15, 1922 murder of his common-law wife Mamie Johnny. Russell was a Yaqui Indian from the state of Texas, and was considered at the time by authorities to be Mexican. Johnny was a Shosone Indian. She was killed by Russell in front of her mother and younger sister. Russell killed Johnny after an argument, Russell wanted to take Johnny home, she wanted to go to the Indian Fandango in Elko.
Russell was sentenced to die in the brand new gas chamber along with Gee Jon and Hughie Sing. Sing had his death sentence commuted to life in January 1924, and Russell had his sentenced commuted in February 1924. He then spent 14 years in the Nevada State Prison. Russell was granted a pardon on November 12, 1946. Russell claim to fame during his time at the State Prison was his outstanding baseball pitching. He was the outstanding member of the Nevada State Prison baseball team for the last several years before his release.