CRYSTAL FALLS—David Levack, 44, of Kingsford appeared in Iron County Trial Court Monday, Dec. 19, before Judge C. Joseph Schwedler.
After being bound over to circuit court, Levack was arraigned on homicide charges stemming from the September murder of Joyce Johnson, 81, of Stambaugh Township.
Johnson was found dead at her home in a bathtub of water the day she was scheduled to testify against Levack in a stolen property trial.
Autopsy reports indicate the cause of death as asphyxia, or homicide by strangulation.
Levack was bound over on four felony charges: one felony count of homicide, open murder, which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison; one alternative count of felony murder, which carries a maximum of life in prison without parole; one felony count of home invasion first degree, which carries up to 20 years in prison and/or $5,000 in fines; and one count of intimidation or threatening of a witness, a 15 year/ $25,000 felony.
Previous felony convictions in Wayne County and Lucia County, Fla., in 1987 and 1984 increase the maximum penalty of the home invasion charge to 40 years and the witness intimidation charge to 30 years in prison.
Levack, appearing with his attorney, Don Powell, pleaded not guilty on all counts. A pre-trial conference was scheduled for Monday, Jan. 16, at 9 a.m.
Due to an extensive amount of what Powell called “circumstantial evidence” and a 550-page police report, a motion was filed by Powell for use of county funds to be used for expert witnesses to defend Levack, including that of an investigator, a pathologist and DNA analysis.
The expense of the expert witnesses for the defense was authorized by Schwedler, who capped the amount to be spent at $40 per hour, and up to $2,500 for a defense investigator and up to $1,000 for a defense hired pathologist to review the autopsy report.
Powell was authorized to spend up to $3,000 to review DNA analysis.
Other fees being paid out by the defense, including costs incurred by making copies of CDs and DVDs, as well as document copies, court records and long distance phone charges, will also be billed to the county, and were authorized by Schwedler to be reviewed and paid to Powell once per week.
A request from the defense for a laptop computer for use by Levack, which would allow him to review the 14 CDs and DVDs included in the evidence against him, was taken under advisement by Schwedler.
A March trial has been scheduled with a motion hearing set for Wednesday, Feb. 15, at 9 a.m.