On Jan. 3, 2020, a Lincoln County Grand Jury returned an Indictment of Murder in the Second Degree against Russell Woods for the July 4, 2019, shooting of his brother-in-law, Brian Fredde.
It was alleged that an altercation arose between Woods and Fredde regarding a wood pile the day of the shooting, which escalated and reportedly led to Woods shooting and killing Fredde.
According to a Jan. 23 release by the Lincoln County Prosecutor’s Office, initial reports claimed that the shooting was believed to be in self-defense. Those initial reports were proven to be premature.
“Prosecutors helped guide a five-month long investigation that was brought to conclusion by a final interview of the Defendant in November 2019,” the release stated. “After an exhaustive and thorough investigation involving multiple agencies, the case was presented to the Grand Jury where testimony and evidence, including surveillance footage of the incident, was solicited by prosecutors.”
The release states that on Jan. 3, 2020, an arrest warrant, under seal by the Circuit Court, was issued for the arrest of Woods.
Prosecutors later learned that information regarding the sealed warrant had been leaked to Woods’ attorneys.
“A phone call to Prosecuting Attorney Mike Wood on January 14 indicated that Woods had been notified of the warrant, forcing prosecutors to negotiate a surrender,” the release states.
It goes on to say that Woods eventually surrendered himself, without incident, to the St. Charles County Jail on Jan. 21. He was being held on a $300,000 cash only bond.
Woods was arraigned the next day in the Circuit Court of Lincoln County.
Mike Wood said that his office is looking further into the leak.
“The family of Brian Fredde deserved to know that a complete, professional and exhaustive investigation would be conducted, and I wanted to make sure that happened before any prosecutorial decisions were made. We offered the Grand Jury the opportunity to see a full and contextual scope of the killing so that they could be well advised and that the citizens of this community could decide if we should move forward,” Mike Wood said.
Mike Wood stated that the reason the case took roughly six months to bring to closure, despite their being video evidence, was the nuance of the case.
“This case was very specific in the fact that it was on video and there were elements of self-defense. It was a very close case. When we have a case like that, that is involving self-defense or that type of affirmative defense that you would argue in court, we have to argue and understand the mindset of the people involved,” Mike Wood said.
In the release Mike Wood thanked the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office for their cooperation, the Child Center and Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Mark Fisher.
All persons are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.