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Heart attack claims man convicted in '79 slaying

A man convicted of helping Mark Hopkinson arrange the 1979 torture-slaying that resulted in Hopkinson's 1992 execution has died of a heart attack.

The death of Alvin "Hap" Russell in Salt Lake City closes the books on the case of Hopkinson, said Uinta County officials.Until he was executed by lethal injection in January 1992, Hopkinson maintained his innocence in the death of Jeff Green. Green's killers were never found and will probably never be identified, said Uinta County Attorney Michael Greer.

"Hopkinson and Hap are the only two that we had been able to prosecute," he said. "They're both deceased and we have no additional evidence."

At the time of his death in Salt Lake City last week, Russell was free on a $100,000 bond pending an appeal on his 1995 conviction and life sentence on a charge of aiding and abetting and conspiracy to commit murder in Green's 1979 torture-slaying.

Russell was accused of conspiring with Hopkinson, held in a California prison at the time, to arrange for the death of Green. Green was killed shortly before he was to testify to a grand jury about the bombing death of an Evanston attorney and members of his family.

Hopkinson was sentenced to life in prison in the bombing deaths and to death in the murder of Green, whose body was found in western Wyoming along I-80.

Russell was first convicted of conspiracy charges in 1990, but the conviction was overturned in 1993 by the Wyoming Supreme Court, which ruled Russell's claims of immunity from prosecution were mishandled.