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Police: Former Marine used rope to rape girlfriend, strangled and stabbed her dog to death

Police say Anthony Russell Jr. used rope to rape girlfriend, strangled and stabbed her dog to death. (Photo: Montgomery County police)

A 38-year-old former U.S. Marine is accused of raping his girlfriend and stabbing her beloved dog to death.

Montgomery County Police have charged Anthony Russell Jr. with first-degree rape, third-degree sex offense, first-degree assault, second-degree assault and aggravated animal cruelty.

Court documents allege Russell made a habit of battering and sexually assaulting his girlfriend who he started dating in March 2015. The couple lived in a basement unit at the Montgomery Century Condominiums along University Boulevard West in Kensington.

In one instance, investigators say Russell, who is 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighs 248 pounds, tossed his girlfriend onto their bed and forced her legs apart. The victim later told police, "she felt that her hip muscles were going to tear from her bones."

Russell is also accused of slapping the victim's nose and face, grabbing her hair, squeezing her throat while lifting her body off the floor, covering her mouth and nose to block airflow and threatening to tie her feet to her neck with a thick rope.

"If I was really beating you, you wouldn't last one punch," Russell reportedly said to his girlfriend during one sexual assault. "You can breathe, stop faking it."

In some cases, the abuse caused the victim to become extremely dizzy. While speaking with detectives, the woman was also unable to swallow food due to a swollen throat and throbbing chest pain.

On July 12, investigators explain the victim was walking her Cane Corso puppy, named Primo, within the condominium complex. Russell emerged from the unit and called for Primo to come to him. When the puppy cowered, Russell reportedly stated, "If you don't come, I'll kill you." Moments later, he grabbed the leash and lifted Primo off the ground, effectively choking it. Once inside the condo, police say Russell taunted Primo and threatened to "skin" him. The 39-year-old former U.S. Marine is said to have then grabbed a knife and stabbed Primo it. Russell's girlfriend witnessed the dog scamper away bleeding, with its internal organs in view. Primo was euthanized hours later at a local animal hospital due the severity of injury.

"That could be the worst thing I have ever heard," said Kenneth Rowe who lives in the same condo community. "Something must really be wrong with this man. That is simply evil spirited."

Off-camera, another male neighbor explained he had recently heard Russell shouting and wondered why he hadn't seen the couple's dog in recent weeks.

Police have not specified how long or in what capacity Russell served as a U.S. Marine, but did share that he currently works as a personal fitness trainer.

Anthony Russell Jr. has no criminal record in Maryland. The charges in this active case, however, carry a prison sentence of up to one life term, plus 48 years. He is currently in Montgomery County custody as his case trickles through the system.

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