The U.S. is celebrating the release of Trevor Reed, a Marine veteran from Texas detained in Russia for 985 days, and who was headed back to the United States Wednesday after a prisoner exchange, according to the White House, following years of his family pleading his case.
Reed was sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison colony in 2020, convicted on charges of violently assaulting two police officers in Moscow following a drunken party when he was visiting his girlfriend. Reed's family and U.S. officials say those charges and ones brought against Paul Whelan, another former Marine still held in Russia, were fabricated in order to seize them as bargaining chips.
Here's a timeline of key events in Reed's case:
Aug. 15, 2019 - Russian police detain Reed
While visiting his Russian girlfriend, Reed was out at a party and became intoxicated. He says he was traveling home from the party in the early morning hours of Aug. 16 when their car was pulled over and Reed says he got out because he got sick and started running around.
Police were called to the scene and took Reed to a police station where Russian Federation agents later arrived and detained him.
March 11, 2020 - Reed's trial begins
Reed appears in a Russian court on the first day on his trial. He faced charges of endangering the lives of the officers and was accused of attacking them and grabbing the police car's steering wheel and causing it to swerve -- despite video evidence later showing that never happened. U.S. officials would later call the trial "theatre of the absurd."
July 30, 2020 - Russia sentences Reed to nine years
A Russian court handed down Reed a maximum sentence of nine years in a Russian prison colony after his trial faced a long delay from March until July.
July 16, 2021 - Reed transferred to remote prison colony
After several appeals, Reed was moved from a prison in Moscow to a remote prison colony. Despite hopes for a prisoner exchange at President Joe Biden's summit with Russia's president Vladimir Putin in Geneva one month earlier, Reed was sent some 350 miles from the Russian capital to a camp in Mordovia.
Nov. 4, 2021 - Reed goes on hunger strike
Isolated in the remote prison colony, Reed goes on a hunger strike, according to his girlfriend, protesting his detention and "numerous and flagrant violations" of his rights by Russian authorities. He had been in solitary confinement for nearly three months at this point because he refused to do labor in the prison camp, his family said at the time.
Feb. 24, 2022 - Russia invades Ukraine
Russian launches its invasion of neighboring Ukraine, prompting more calls from Reed's family for Biden to bring their son home.
March 8, 2022 - Reed's parents protest at Biden event
After protesting outside Biden's event at a Veterans Affairs facility in Fort Worth, Texas, Joey and Paula Reed said Biden called them after his speech.
March 30, 2022 - Reed's parents meet Biden
Reed's parents meet with Biden for 40 minutes after demonstrating outside the White House amid Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine. Around the same time, Trevor Reed went back on another hunger strike in prison to protest.
April 1, 2022 - Reed transferred to hospital
Reed was transferred to a prison hospital after reported exposure to tuberculosis in December, his family said.
April 12, 2022 - Reed appears in appeals court via video link
Reed is seen publicly for the first time in months in a court appearance via video link from his prison colony for an appeals hearing. The court remanded his case to a lower court, but Reed was able to speak about his health, saying it had been two weeks since he coughed up blood, and called the charges against him fabricated.
April 27, 2022 - US, Russia announce prisoner swap
Statements from the White House and Russian Foreign Ministry report Reed's release as part of an international prisoner exchange. Reed is exchanged for Russian Konstantin Yaroshenko, a pilot serving a 20-year federal prison sentence in Connecticut for conspiracy to smuggle cocaine into the U.S. after he was arrested in Liberia in 2010 and extradited to the U.S.
According to Joey Reed, his son was first flown from Russia to Turkey where he was exchanged on the tarmac for Yaroshenko.
"He said it was like a movie," Joey Reed said. "They walked past each other like in a spy swap."