Charges Dismissed Against Woman Accused of Killing St. Jude’s Researcher During Attempt to ‘Defend His Wife’ and Toddler in Botched Robbery

Brandy Rucker, one of the individuals accused in the murder of St. Jude researcher Dr. Alexander Bulakhov, was released following a recent ruling by Judge Sheila Bruce Renfro. The judge cited a lack of probable cause in the case, leading to the dismissal of various charges against Rucker, including first-degree murder, especially aggravated robbery, and attempted murder.

Dr. Alexander Bulakhov with his family

Court records revealed that Rucker’s charges were dismissed as authorities assess if there’s enough evidence to proceed with an indictment. While the Shelby County District Attorney’s office emphasized that the dismissal was due to law enforcement’s inability to identify the defendant, they clarified that the case is far from over.

According to LAW&CRIME website, “Rucker admitted to being the driver of the Toyota Camry, watch[ing] Ward exit the Camry with a handgun in his hand and walk[ing] toward the area of 495 Tennessee St. before hurrying back to the vehicle and advising her to flee the area,” the affidavit states. “Ward confessed to being the gunman responsible for the murder of Alexander Bulakhov. Ward further advised that the 9mm handgun found in his possession was the same weapon used during the murder.”

“The case is not over and our office is committed to seeking justice for Dr. Alexander Bulakhov,” the District Attorney’s office stated, underscoring their determination to continue the legal proceedings.

The District Attorney’s office is expediting Rucker’s case to a grand jury for potential indictment in criminal court, reaffirming their commitment to seeking justice for Dr. Alexander Bulakhov. Despite the charges against Rucker being dismissed, they were not dropped, indicating ongoing legal scrutiny.

“We are just trying to see if the state has enough evidence to move forward with an indictment,” Judge Renfro explained during the hearing, shedding light on the legal complexities of the case.

Rucker’s co-defendant, Marious Ward, alleged to be the triggerman in the November murder of Dr. Bulakhov during a robbery in Downtown Memphis, will remain in custody. Blake Ballin, Ward’s attorney, confirmed a romantic relationship between the two defendants.

Dr. Bulakhov, 32, had recently moved to Memphis for a research position at St. Jude when the tragic incident unfolded as he, accompanied by his wife Anastasiia Bulakhova and their 2-year-old daughter, was walking on Tennessee Street. They encountered an armed man in a ski mask demanding their property. After Bulakhov surrendered his wallet, the assailant pointed the gun at his wife. In an attempt to defend her during a struggle over the weapon, Bulakhov was shot. He was quickly transported to Regional One Hospital, where he later succumbed to his injuries.

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