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Testimony continues in murder trial

April 27, 2012
By NIKKI YOUNK - Staff Writer , The Daily News

CRYSTAL FALLS - Testimony in the murder trial against David Levack continued Thursday with witnesses who were familiar with the victim and the defendant.

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

Several of Johnson's friends testified that Johnson was a wonderful person who never fought with anyone and had no enemies, with the exception of Levack.

Article Photos

Brian Krause, middle, who was a friend of David Levack, testifies in Iron County Trial Court on Thursday. Also pictured are Judge C. Joseph Schwedler, left, and Iron County Prosecutor Melissa Powell.
Nikki Younk/Daily News Photo

They all testified that Johnson had many vaulables in her home, and that Johnson believed that her husband had hidden gold in the home, which was later found.

They added that they all spoke with Johnson on the day before she was found dead.

Jo Erickson, who lived near Johnson, testified that she brought Johnson a bacon cheeseburger and a chocolate malt at about 4 p.m. on Sept. 26, 2011. Erickson also spoke to Johnson over the phone at about 5 p.m. to ask her if she enjoyed the meal.

Miriam Madsen, a friend from Johnson's church, testified that she spoke to Johnson over the phone sometime between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. They discussed the stolen property case against Levack, Madsen added.

Charles Bedell, the fiance of one of Johnson's husband's former caretakers, testified that he spoke to Johnson over the phone at about 7 p.m. He told Johnson that he would not be able to drive her to the stolen property trial the next

morning, as he had to go to work.

Robin Kennedy, a friend from Johnson's church, testified that she spoke to Johnson over the telephone that evening. Since Bedell would be unable to drive Johnson to the trial, Kennedy agreed to pick her up the next morning around 8 a.m.

Kennedy also testified that when she arrived at Johnson's residence on the morning of Sept. 27, no one answered any of the doors. She said that she had assumed that Johnson found a ride with someone else.

Some of the witnesses knew both Johnson and Levack.

Erickson testified that she dated Levack for about two and a half years starting in 2008. She also testified that she was the one who introduced Levack to Johnson. After the introduction, Levack started working as a home healthcare provider for Johnson's husband, who was suffering from dementia.

Bedell testified that he knew Levack through Johnson. Bedell and Levack also worked together as home healthcare providers for Dr. Gerald Abegglen in Iron Mountain.

Iron County Prosecutor Melissa Powell then called on some acquaintances and friends of Levack.

All of those witnesses testified that Levack was known to use several cell phones, and would often call from a restricted number.

Melinda Harvala, a friend of Levack, testified that Levack was supposed to drive her to an appointment on Sept. 26, but he never did.

Levack's friends Nicole Strutz, Jamie Rose, and Brian Krause testified that they tried calling Levack multiple times on Sept. 26, but he only answered every so often.

Wes Jones, who played on Levack's pool league team, testified that Levack did not show up for pool league on Sept. 26. He added that Levack was not consistent in his attendance.

Lex Johnson, a neighbor of Levack, testified that he saw Levack in Kingsford on the evening of Sept. 26 and between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. on Sept. 27.

In addition, Krause offered some testimony that both the prosecutor and defense attorney questioned.

Krause claimed that he heard Levack speaking to a mutual friend about the murder. He said that Levack mentioned something about having a debt to a drug dealer and having a "quick score" he had to take care of. Krause added that Levack said that "he could not believe that he went back to the house and did not leave any marks." Levack also mentioned "marks on the neck," said Krause.

When Powell asked Krause why he waited to tell law enforcement officials about this information, he testified that he was under the influence of drugs at the time of overhearing the conversation and when officials first questioned him.

Levack's attorney Dan Jaspen pointed out that Krause is currently sitting in Dickinson County Jail on a revoked license charge and has a pending felony case in Florence County. Jaspen asked if Krause asked for or was offered any deals for information regarding Levack. Krause testified that no deals were ever discussed.

Nikki Younk's e-mail address is



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