Police: Officers Left Woman with Man Accused of Killing Her

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Mark Russell (WHO-HD)

FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) — Police say a man killed a woman at an Iowa home about an hour after officers went there to check on a domestic dispute but left without making an arrest or removing anyone from the tense scene.

Mark Russell, of Fort Dodge, is accused of using a golf club to beat 45-year-old Angela McLeod to death. Russell, 28, is scheduled to appear in court Jan. 31 on a first-degree murder charge. Webster County court records don’t list the name of an attorney who could comment for him. He’s being held on $5 million bail.

Officers who were called to the house that Russell and McLeod shared with McLeod’s daughter on Monday morning heard contrasting accounts from McLeod and Russell about what had happened, police said in a news release Tuesday.

“It was apparent that Mr. Russell and Ms. McLeod had been in an argument, but it was impossible for those officers to determine fault or who the initial aggressor was,” police said.

The couple told the officers that they could resolve their problems “without the need for criminal charges,” and neither woman asked that Russell be forced to leave.

“While it’s impossible to know what will happen in the future between any individuals, with no evidence of a physical assault and no third-party information, officers had no choice but to allow Mr. Russell and Ms. McLeod to carry on throughout their day, with both parties agreeing to work past their differences,” police said in the release.

Officers responding to another report about a dispute at the home about an hour later found McLeod unresponsive, police said. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Russell later told officers that he had repeatedly struck McLeod with the golf club.

Fort Dodge Police Capt. Ryan Gruenberg said the officers’ actions and their body camera video has been thoroughly reviewed.

“We don’t see anything that has raised any red flags,” Gruenberg said Wednesday, adding that the Webster County attorney’s office hasn’t expressed any concerns either.

The county attorney hasn’t returned a message from The Associated Press seeking comment, and AP efforts to reach McLeod’s daughter were unsuccessful.

Russell has been imprisoned at least three times since 2012, police said. His criminal history includes convictions for illegal weapons possession and domestic assault, although the victim in that case wasn’t McLeod or her daughter.

Fort Dodge sits about 70 miles (110 kilometers) north-northwest of Des Moines.

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