Defense attorney seeks 2nd move for Early, Iowa, man's murder trial

2013-05-28T10:21:00Z 2015-01-02T22:26:03Z Defense attorney seeks 2nd move for Early, Iowa, man's murder trialNICK HYTREK nhytrek@siouxcityjournal.com Sioux City Journal

SAC CITY, Iowa | The abduction of two girls near Dayton, Iowa, could affect the trial of an Early, Iowa, man accused of killing his mother.

Public defender Charles Kenville has asked for a second change of venue for Kirk Levin's murder trial because of the publicity surrounding the abduction of the girls and the subsequent suicide of the man accused of kidnapping them.

Earlier this month, Levin's trial was moved from Sac County to Webster County. Dayton is located in Webster County, and Kenville said the kidnapping and possible homicide would not make it possible for Levin to receive a fair trial. Some of the potential jurors selected for the term covering Levin's trial live in or near Dayton, Kenville said.

"Given the nature and circumstances of the allegations against the defendant it is unrealistic to think the jury will not be improperly influenced by the recent events in their county of residence," Kenville wrote in his motion, filed Friday.

Michael Klunder, 42, committed suicide shortly after a 12-year-old he is suspected of abducting escaped. Kathlynn Shepard, 15, is still missing.

Kenville had asked that Levin's trial be moved from Sac County because the extensive media coverage after his arrest would have made it hard to find an impartial jury there.

No hearings have been scheduled on the new change of venue request. Kenville did not immediately return a message left for him.

Levin, 21, is scheduled to stand trial June 3 on charges of first-degree murder and third-degree kidnapping. He's accused of killing his mother, Marilyn Schmitt, 45, on Jan. 3.

Authorties found Schmitt's body in her rural Early home while investigating a report that Levin, who had been released from prison Jan. 1 after serving two years for burglary, had kidnapped a female acquaintance from Storm Lake, Iowa. The kidnapping victim escaped when Levin crashed a car into a ditch near his mother's farm.

If found guilty of first-degree murder, Levin would face a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole.

Copyright 2015 Sioux City Journal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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