CRYSTAL FALLS— The jury returned guilty verdicts on all four counts against David Anthony Levack, 45, of Kingsford following deliberations early Friday afternoon.
Levack was found guilty of open murder, felony murder, home invasion and witness intimidation in the death of Joyce Johnson, 81, of Stambaugh Township.
Judge C. Joseph Schwedler set Monday, June 11, at 9 a.m. for sentencing.
Earlier Friday, Schwedler returned the jury to the stand regarding a note from the jury that indicated someone on the jury had “Googled” information during deliberations.
“My instructions said you were not to do any research,” Schwedler told the jury, allowing them to return to continue their deliberations.
Schwedler also denied a motion for mistrial by Levack’s attorney, Daniel Jaspen, because of any information that the jury had accessed was “outside counsel and not subject to cross examinations.”
When the jury returned with its verdict, Schwedler polled each juror asking, “Is this your verdict?” … “Yes,” they responded.
He also asked whether any information obtained on Google had influenced their decision. “No,” each jury member told the judge.
Week two of the murder trial began with several more witnesses for the prosecution, followed by a day of testimony from the defendant himself.
Witnesses testifying for the prosecution included a former cellmate of Levack’s, who said he showed no remorse over the death; a concealed weapons class instructor who had Mrs. Johnson in a March 2011 CCW class and said that she wanted to learn to shoot a larger gun; and Levack’s mother, who could not recall why her son called her 19 times on the night of Sept. 26.
Case officer Sgt. Wade Cross of the Iron County Sheriff’s Department also testified, giving a review of the facts of the case and giving details of the last phone call received to Johnson’s landline phone.
The call occurred at 9:03 p.m. on the night of Sept. 26 and came from a TracFone activated on Sept. 22 and last used at 11:40 p.m. on Sept. 26.
Calls to and from Levack’s mother, brother, neighbor Lex Johnson and friend Randy Lincoln were also made on the TracFone.
According to records, on the night of the murder, signals from the TracFone in question bounced off of cell towers from Iron Mountain to Florence and Long Lake, Wis., which cover the murder scene.
The defense brought in Levack’s stolen property attorney, John Kivisaari, who testified that even if convicted, Levack would not have seen much jail time.
Levack spent Wednesday, May 2, on the stand, where he denied killing Joyce Johnson or being anywhere near Iron County the night of the murder.
He said he had picked up his friend, Paul Schewe, at a Florence, Wis., bar, had spent time at Lex Johnson’s house and had been to the Iron Mountain Wal-Mart, although the entire evening was not accounted for.
Levack also disagreed with much of the testimony against him, giving his own version of the story and his opinion of the witnesses.
He accused the prosecutor and police of not performing a thorough investigation and of having tunnel vision when it came to charging him.
He believed that there were other suspects that should have been further looked into.
Closing arguments took place Thursday morning.
Jury deliberation began shortly before lunchtime and went on until 5 p.m., without a verdict.
The jury’s verdict came in just before 1 p.m. on Friday, May 4.
Family and friends of Mrs. Johnson were both elated and relieved at the verdict.
In a press release issued after the verdict, Iron County Sheriff Mark Valesano thanked his staff, Prosecutor Melissa Powell and her staff and “all those who assisted in any way during the past seven-plus months in this investigation and prosecution.”
He also thanked the jury for their “sacrifice, time and the accepting of their civic duty… We believe that their verdict is correct and just.”