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Levack trial begins

April 24, 2012
By NIKKI YOUNK - Staff Writer , The Daily News

CRYSTAL FALLS - The first day of a two-week jury trial for Iron County murder suspect David Levack began with opening statements and testimony from several witnesses for the prosecution.

Levack, 45, of Kingsford faces felony counts of open murder, felony murder, home invasion, and witness intimidation for allegedly murdering 81-year-old Joyce Johnson of Stambaugh Township before she could testify against him in a stolen property trial on Sept. 27, 2011.

Iron County Prosecutor Melissa Powell told the jury that she usually picks a theme for her opening statement. In this case, the theme was "the sound of silence."

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"Someone attempted to silence Joyce Johnson," she said. "But her voice will come through throughout this case in other people's testimony."

Powell said that those people will include the law enforcement officials who investigated the case, forensic scientists, doctors, a cell phone representative, Johnson's daughter, Johnson's friends, and people who knew Levack.

According to Powell, cell phone records will show that Levack's phone was hitting off towers starting from the Iron Mountain area and moving toward the Crystal Falls area on the night before Johnson was found deceased.

"This was not a robbery gone bad - this was personal," said Powell. "Evidence will show that David Levack had motive, opportunity, and knowledge to commit the crime."

Levack's attorney Dan Jaspen told the jury that Powell was trying to fit the evidence to her own theories.

"After Ms. Johnson was found dead, police honed in on David Levack," he said. "They saw everything through that lens. They had a conclusion, then worked backwards."

Jaspen said that there is no DNA or other forensic evidence linking Levack to the scene of the crime. He added that Levack was known to share phones within his circle of friends, and that phone records cannot prove that Levack was the person making the calls on the night before Johnson was found deceased.

In addition, Jaspen argued that Levack did not have a motive to kill Johnson. If Levack had been convicted of the stolen property crime, he would have only faced a few months in jail, said Jaspen.

Jaspen also told the jury that several of Levack's acquaintances will testify, but they may not be very credible. Jaspen asked why law enforcement officials never followed up on investigating these people in the murder case.

Following opening statements, several witnesses testified.

For more details, see Wednesday's Daily News.



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