Cerro Gordo County jury to hear Fort Dodge murder trial starting today

MASON CITY — The first-degree murder trial of a Fort Dodge man accused of killing his ex-girlfriend’s mother is underway with a Cerro Gordo County jury hearing the trial.

31-year-old Mark Russell was arrested in January 2020 after being accused of murdering 45-year-old Angela McLeod. A criminal complaint states that officers found McLeod face down on a bedroom floor with blood on the carpet near a golf club missing its head. She was later pronounced dead.

Russell’s trial has been delayed several times, including numerous times for competency evaluations. A mistrial was declared during the second day of jury selection in Webster County District Court in August after a judge found probable cause that Russell was suffering from a mental disorder that rendered him incompetent to stand trial. After Russell underwent a psychiatric competency evaluation, a judge ruled that he was competent to stand trial.

Russell’s attorney filed a motion in October for a change of venue for the trial due to pre-trial publicity that tainted the Webster County jury pool. Judge Angela Doyle approved the motion and ordered the case be moved to Mason City.

It’s anticipated that the trial will last five days.