PHILADELPHIA. Patricia Gordon-Mann, a bespectacled 66-year-old who leads children’s arboretum tours, had just gotten home from Produce Junction with a bag of oranges. Marianne Nuzzo, 47, made a post-work pit-stop at a Ridge Avenue 7-Eleven before leafing through her mail outside.


What happened next is why they took the stand the opening day of Christopher Russell’s trial yesterday for an alleged nine-stop violent-robbery spree of older women in Northeast and Northwest Philadelphia.

Gordon-Mann fingered Russell as the man who, in broad daylight, sneaked into the foyer of her Wissahickon Avenue. When she asked him whom he was at the multi-unit building to see, “He said ‘I’m here for you.’ He hit me and I crashed into the ground.” Photos of a battered right eye and left cheek were then shown to the jury.


Nuzzo, the youngest victim, heard something “rushing up the front steps behind me” before entering her West Johnson Street home. “He smirked, grabbed the back of my head, slammed my face into the walkway and tugged my purse off my shoulder. My front teeth hit a brick and splintered like shards of glass,” she said.