Jury convicts shooter in park and ride murder

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

After deliberating for less than two hours, a Hennepin County District Court jury found Marcus Hallmark guilty of murdering Thomas John Russ, 32, at a Minnetonka park-and-ride ramp, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Tuesday.

Hallmark, 26, of Columbia Heights, was found guilty of one count first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Russ. When Hallmark is sentenced on February 26, it will be to life in prison without parole.

According to the criminal complaint, on March 3, 2017, Hallmark, Russ, and Hallmark’s sister were hanging out at a home in Colombia Heights with two other women. One of the women lent her car to Hallmark, but at some point he abandoned it at the park-and-ride ramp on Wayzata Boulevard in Minnetonka because it had a flat tire.

Later that evening, they drove to the ramp so that Russ could change the tire. The women sat in the car while Hallmark and Russ worked on the other car’s flat tire. The women reported hearing a loud bang, looked over and saw Russ on the ground. They then saw Hallmark bend over and fire another shot before running away, the complaint states. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner said Russ died of two gunshot wounds to the head.