A 21-year old man accused of killing his mother at her Early home and kidnapping a Storm Lake woman earlier this month has pled not guilty to both charges, via documents filed with Sac County court Jan. 28.
The Sac County Sheriff's Office criminal complaint obtained by the Pilot-Tribune alleges Kirk Levin admitted to law enforcement he was the "only one who could have killed the victim," and that "he choked his mother" and "he had to have killed her" during the early morning hours of Jan. 3.
Despite the alleged admission, Sac County Attorney Ben Smith told the Pilot-Tribune he was not surprised by Levin's not-guilty plea for first-degree murder and third-degree kidnapping.
No date has been set for the trial, as research is expected to be a lengthy ordeal.
"It's too early to tell when this will see the light of day inside a courtroom," Smith said. "There's a lot of information to process on both sides."
Smith said it was "difficult to tell" if the trial will take place this year.
Assistant Iowa Attorney General Doug Hammerand, who assisted with successful prosecution of the Tracey Richter-Roberts first-degree murder case in November 2011, also stemming from an incident in Early, will be aiding the Sac County Attorney's Office with Levin's case.
After being released from a Mount Pleasant prison Jan. 1, police assert Levin strangled his mother, 45-year old Marilyn Schmitt, with a belt and stabbed her repeatedly in the head and leg.
Autopsy reports indicate Schmitt died between 1:30 and 5:30 a.m. in a bedroom at her Early home, located at 2242 Ira Avenue.
Levin then reportedly went to the home of a 21-year old Jessica, an acquaintance who lived in Storm Lake. He arrived at approximately 6:30 a.m., claimed his car had broken down and asked for a ride back to his mother's home.
After convincing Jessica to give him a ride, Levin lured her into a barn, tied her up with rope and drove off. After losing control of the car and skidding into a ditch on Highway 20, passerby Gary Schram stopped to offer assistance.
Levin fled, while Jessica yelled for help. Investigators later found him hiding in a nearby barn.
Records indicate Levin remains incarcerated at the Buena Vista County Jail on a $1.2 million bond, after a transfer from Sac County Jail Jan. 8. The move was made after Sac County law enforcement requested a more "secure location" for the inmate.
Conviction of third-degree kidnapping, a Class C felony, carries a 10-year sentence with a potential fine of $1,000-$10,000, while conviction of first-degree murder, a Class A felony, carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole