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Plea deal reached for man who molested Santa Cruz teen that later died

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KION-TV)- A man pleaded no contest Tuesday in a Santa Cruz County courtroom on seven felony counts of molesting two female minors, according to the Santa Cruz County DA's Office.

Michael Russell, 24, of San Jose, was arrested on Dec. 2, 2021, for furnishing drugs to minors and having sexual relations with minors by the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office.

Russell agreed to a plea deal and will be sentenced to 10 years in prison. One of his victims, Lace Price, was found dead after a believed fentanyl overdose in Corralitos, Calif. The DA's office would not confirm Price's cause of death.

Russell was not charged with the 16-year-old's death but was found guilty of giving his two female victims narcotics.

He will be sentenced to 10 years in jail on Feb. 8. Russell will also have to register as a sex offender for life.

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Ricardo Tovar

Assignment/ Web Manager for KION News Channel 5/46 and Telemundo 23

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