Donald E. Preston

Donald E. Preston

Homicide — SOLVED

Donald Edward Preston
51 YOA
Found in Farm Field
Fort Dodge, IA
Webster County
December 26, 2016
Investigating Agency: Webster County Sheriff’s Office
Arrest Made:
Christopher Johnson charged with first-degree murder
First Court Appearance: Friday, Feb. 3, 2023
Johnson Takes Plea Deal: Friday, Jan. 26, 2024
Sentencing Date: March 22, 2024


LATEST UPDATE — Friday, Jan. 26, 2024

Cedar Rapids man takes plea deal in 2016 death of a Fort Dodge man

Christopher Johnson

Christopher Todd Johnson, 50, pled guilty on Friday, Jan. 26, 2024, to voluntary manslaughter in Donald Preston’s 2016 death.

Johnson was arrested last February and charged with first-degree murder in the case.

According to court documents, Johnson was driving with Preston on gravel roads in rural Webster County. Investigators say Johnson took out a handgun and shot Preston in the head and abdomen before dumping him in a field.

According to Iowa’s News Now, Johnson is expected to be sentenced on March 22.

Initial Press Release from the Iowa Department of Public Safety

WEBSTER COUNTY, Iowa — On Monday, December 26, 2016, a deceased male was located in a field southwest of Fort Dodge, Iowa. The body was transported to the Iowa Office of the State Medical Examiner in Ankeny, Iowa where an autopsy was performed.

Webster County in Iowa
Webster County in Iowa
Fort Dodge in Webster CountyFort Dodge in Webster County

The preliminary examination identified the body as Donald Edward Preston, 51, of Fort Dodge, Iowa. The Iowa Office of the State Medical Examiner determined manner of death was homicide and the cause of death was a gunshot wound.

The Iowa Department of Public Safety’s Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) is assisting with the investigation.

Preston had not been reported missing and was last seen by family members on December 22nd in Fort Dodge. The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information regarding this case is asked to contact the Webster County Sheriff’s Office or Webster County Crime Stoppers information listed below.

Crime Stoppers can be contacted anonymously by calling (515) 573-1444 (STOP), online at or by texting “LEC” and the tip to Crimes (274637).

PREVIOUS UPDATE — Feb. 2, 2023

An arrest has been made in a years-long cold case in Webster County.

Christopher Todd Johnson, 49, of Cedar Rapids, is now charged with first-degree murder for the death of Donald Preston.

Investigators said Johnson was driving with Preston when Johnson displayed his handgun. He’s accused of then shooting Preston in the head and abdomen and leaving his body in a field, KCRG Staff reported Thursday evening, Feb. 2.

Court documents do not say how the two men knew each other

Johnson will make his first court appearance in Webster County Magistrate Court on Friday.


Brother of Fort Dodge Homicide Victim Speaks Out

By Michael Dasilva, Dec. 30, 2016

FORT DODGE, Iowa — Pat Preston says his older brother Don was well-known and well-loved in the Fort Dodge community. “He had a big circle of friends,” said Preston. When Don failed to show up for Christmas dinner with the family this year, Pat knew something was wrong. “…as much as he liked to eat and we have a big Christmas dinner, for him not to attend the dinner made us all wonder,” said Preston. “That’s when I kinda knew something was wrong. I mean, I felt something was wrong, you know, because he’s never, ever missed a meal, Thanksgiving, nothing,” said Preston.

And then Pat heard from Iowa’s Division of Criminal Investigation. “I got a call to come down to the police station and look at a couple pictures and went down. They said a body was found in a cornfield, which they believed to be my brother Don, and I looked at the pictures and confirmed it was him,” said Preston.

The day after Christmas Don was found dead in a field southwest of Fort Dodge. Pat says Don’s body was discovered by a farmer who was out spreading fertilizer, and that based on his body temperature, Don had only been there for nine or ten hours. The state medical examiner determined the manner of death was homicide and the cause of death was a gunshot wound.

“If you know anything, if it’s an accident, whatever it is, step forward and tell us what you know,” said Preston as he pleaded with anyone with information about what happened to say what they know. Pat says Don didn’t have any known enemies and wasn’t fearing for his life for any reason so he doesn’t know who could have done this to his brother.

What he does know is that his brother will be missed. “Every Saturday, Sunday, he’d be over watching football and we’d joke about him being a Raiders fan. He was the only one out of the family that was not a Cowboys fan. He was the only Raiders fan, but he rode us like he had the whole crowd with him, but that’s just the way he was, vocal. I’m gonna miss that out of him,” said Preston.

The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information regarding this case is asked to contact the Webster County Sherriff’s Office or Webster County Crime Stoppers information listed below.

Crime Stoppers can be contacted anonymously by calling (515) 573-1444 (STOP), online at or by texting “LEC” and the tip to Crimes (274637).

About Donald Preston (from obituary)

Donald E. Preston, 51, of Fort Dodge died December 26, 2016.

Funeral services will be 10:30 a.m. Saturday, January 7, 2017, at St. Olaf Lutheran Church with Rev. Tim Anderson officiating. Burial will follow at North Lawn Cemetery. A visitation will be from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. Friday at Laufersweiler-Sievers Funeral Home.

Donald is survived by his children, DeJuan Jackson; Deminica Mica-Jackson; Devon Kirby all of Fort Dodge; Jett Kuker of Waterloo; grandchildren, Jordon Jackson; Tatum Lundberg; Jasmine Jackson; Leah Lundberg; Jaysawn Jackson; JaeBrielle Wilson; Armani Kirby; mother, Mattie Lee Preston; siblings, Calvin Morrison of Columbus, OH; Mary Preston; Ronnie (Courtney) Preston; Vickey Preston (George); Patrick (Valerie) Preston all of Fort Dodge; and a host of cousins, nephews, nieces, aunts, and uncles.

Donald was preceded in death by his father, Lemon Preston; brother, Lennon Preston; and nephew, Brandyn Preston.

Donald Edward Preston was born on October 14, 1965, in Iowa City. He attended schools in Fort Dodge. Don graduated from Fort Dodge Senior High School. He then attended ICCC. He was involved in the construction field and manufacturing industry for many years. In 1994, he started his own business, “Donny’s Construction.”

In 2002, Donald married Beverly Pedersen and the couple made their home in Fort Dodge. The couple later divorced. Don enjoyed music and dancing. He had a fondness for jewelry. Don was an avid Raider Fan. He will be deeply missed by his family and all those who knew him.

Memorials may be left to the discretion of the family.

Information Needed

The Webster County Sheriff’s Office is asking for your help. They ask if you have any information to call them at (515) 573-1410 or call Crime Stoppers at (515) 573-1444.


3 Responses to Donald Preston

  1. Kendra Wessels says:

    What about Kia lorez, Indian Joe, Jake Davidson, Thompson’s, Police negligence.And all in connection with Lori Alexander’s homicide??? SOLVED, m, my ass… What about the appeal, not mentioned??? Another appeal, who shot my son Shane Wessels??? And the others who helped kill my son, and never received no charges??? Guilty as shooter. Police need to be investigated here, and I can’t wait until BIRD visits here.

    • Patrick Kerrigan says:

      I understand your frustration, with authorities in Fort Dodge in charging others in relation to your son’s death. takes evidence, such as witnesses to come forward, and physical evidence.

      These forensics programs such as CSI Las Vegas and Miami, have juries looking for forensic evidence that may not been recoverable, such as maybe trying to match up a mark one body, to a punch thrown or body part grabbed.

      Plus the authorities may have certain evidence to support their beliefs. However, the prosecutor has to say yes there is enough to go to trial, or he or she wants more to put before a jury.

      The prosecutor has to approve all felony charges, at least here in Illinois. We hear of a number of cases where people were wrongly accused of serious crimes and sentenced to jail for crimes they did not committ.

      One of them involves the disappearance, rape and murder of Theresa Fusco. 16. In Lynbrook, New York in the early 1980’s. Three men served almost 20 some years. Then DNA cleared them. However, the DA wantedcto retry one of them, based on his confession.

      However, the confession was basically written orxrewritten several times by the lead detective on the case. Also, he got wiretaps on their phones, claiming her blood was found in one of the offenders van. However, no blood was ever found in the van,. Plus he claimed that her hair was found in the van. However, the hairs he claimed were found in the van, had signs of banding. According to forensic experts this banding occurs several hours after death.

      It appears the drtective had unfettered access to the crime lab. He also never reported to any other detectives working the case or the states attorney, about a car stolen, when Theresa disappeared. The vehicle was recovered and her pants were found under the front passenger seat. However, another police agency took the evidence found, but never had it processed, andvit disappeared.

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