Kirk Levin
Kirk Levin
May 6, 2013

The 21-year-old Early man who allegedly admitted that he choked and killed his mother in January has asked a judge to withhold that confession from his trial.

Kirk Levin faces felony murder and kidnapping charges for allegedly strangling and stabbing to death his mother, Marilyn Schmitt, 45, in the upstairs bedroom of her rural Early house on Jan. 3, and for kidnapping a 21-year-old Storm Lake woman later that morning.

Levin was arrested after he lost control of the vehicle he drove in the alleged kidnapping on an icy gravel road and went into a ditch about 8 a.m. that day.

"Kirk Levin admits to law enforcement that he was the only one who could have killed the victim," Sac County Sheriff Ken McClure wrote in the criminal complaint against Levin, who "admitted that he choked his mother and that he had to have killed her."

But Levin's defense attorney, Charles Kenville, of Fort Dodge, asked a judge on Friday to bar prosecutors from using the confession as evidence in Levin's trial, which for now is set for June 3.

Kenville alleges that Levin asked for a lawyer but was ignored and interrogated.

Further, "the officers used improper interrogation techniques to induce the defendant to speak to them," Kenville wrote. "The officers promised leniency."

McClure declined to comment on the allegations but said he and his deputies did not interrogate Levin. He declined to reveal who did, but officers of the state Division of Criminal Investigation helped investigate the crimes.

Kenville also asked on Friday for the trial to be moved from Sac County because too many residents there think Levin is guilty.

"The media coverage for this case has been intense and has created a high degree of prejudice against the defendant," Kenville wrote. "There is a substantial likelihood that a fair and impartial trial cannot be preserved."

It's unclear when a judge will rule on Kenville's requests.

Levin's murder charge is punishable by up to life in prison.

He was released from an eastern Iowa prison on New Year's Day from a felony burglary conviction. His mother gave Levin a ride back to her Early house at 2242 Ira Ave., where he allegedly stabbed her to death between 1:30 and 5:45 a.m. on Jan. 3. Investigators found the woman face-down on the floor of her bedroom with a belt around her neck.

Levin allegedly drove to Storm Lake and asked an acquaintance there for a ride home. When they arrived, Levin allegedly coaxed the woman into a barn and bound her with rope.

The woman later told investigators that Levin put her in the car and drove off but went into a ditch a short time later. A passerby neighbor stopped to help and apparently spooked Levin, who fled to a nearby river and walked along it for more than a mile. He was found 40 minutes later shivering with no shoes next to an old farm building, investigators have said.

Levin, who is originally from Wisconsin, has a well-documented history of violent sexual fantasies, court records from Iowa and Wisconsin show, but has not been convicted of a sex crime.

He is held on $1 million bond at Sac County Jail in Sac City.