Iowa officials warned of inmate before release

AP News
Posted: Jan 09, 2013 5:33 PM
Iowa officials warned of inmate before release

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa man charged with killing his mother and kidnapping another woman hours after being released from prison made disturbing drawings while behind bars, prompting prison officials to warn police about his release.

Court documents released Wednesday show Iowa Department of Corrections officials told Sac County Sheriff Ken McClure shortly before Kirk Levin's Jan. 1 release that they had discovered a notebook with explicit writings and drawings of a woman being raped.

McClure declined comment on whether he took action in response, but noted the agency routinely contacts him when inmates move to the area. Department of Corrections spokesman Fred Scaletta declined comment.

Police say Levin, 21, has confessed to choking and stabbing his mother, Marilyn Schmitt, to death within 36 hours of leaving the Mount Pleasant prison and moving back to her farmhouse in Early in northwestern Iowa. He's charged with first-degree murder.

Levin was released after serving two years on a five-year burglary sentence, which was reduced under a law that routinely cuts sentences in half. A judge also gave Levin credit for time served in Wisconsin, where he was sent for violating his parole in a car theft case. Prison officials say they had to release Levin without supervision once his sentence ended.

McClure found Schmitt's body in a blood-soaked bedroom Jan. 3 after going to check on her, after her son was arrested in connection with the kidnapping of 21-year-old Jessica Vega. Schmitt had been stabbed in the head and leg and had a belt wrapped around her neck, according to court documents.

"I don't know that there's words to describe it," McClure said. "It was a sad deal for a whole lot of people."

In a police statement released Wednesday, Vega described Levin luring her into a barn and tying her up during a kidnapping that ended only when a car accident allowed her to escape.

Vega said she knew Levin from talking with him online. Early Jan. 3, she heard someone calling her name outside her apartment in Storm Lake, 15 miles from Early. She said she was shocked to see Levin, who said his car had broken down and he needed a ride home. She agreed.

When they arrived at his mother's house, Levin convinced her to get out of her car so he could "show me something" in a barn, Vega wrote. She said she agreed on the condition that he be quick because she needed to go to work. She said Levin closed the barn door and told her to take a seat.

"He was walking to get the rope and said, 'I'm kidnapping you.' I thought he was kidding and I said I'm not a kid. So he said, 'woman-napping you.' So I laughed & when he got the rope I knew he was serious," she wrote. "We were on the floor struggling. I had no way out and he kept telling me that he didn't want to hurt me so to stop struggling."

Vega said she figured her only way out was to get around other people, and she told Levin she'd do whatever he asked if they went to get her daughter, Victoria. She said he tied her hands and feet with rope, put her in the car and drove toward the apartment she shared with her sister.

She was riding in the backseat, but Levin said that made him nervous. She suggested he put her in the trunk, where she had tools she thought she could use to hit him. He did, but Vega's idea backfired. She could hardly breathe in the trunk and furiously kicked to get Levin's attention. He then stopped and put her in the front seat.

Levin eventually drove the speeding car into a ditch, and two passersby offered to help. Levin tried to hide Vega from the couple, covering her face with one of her daughter's sweaters.

"He gets out of the car and tells them that it's no use, that the car is stuck, that he doesn't live far so he'll just walk there," she wrote.

Vega got out and reported her kidnapping to police. Deputies found Levin hiding in a barn on his mother's property. Court records say he confessed to the kidnapping and told detectives he'd had "fantasies of kidnaping and rape" dating back to his teenage years.

Court documents in Wisconsin detail other instances in which Levin was caught while planning sexual assaults.

McClure went to Schmitt's home after he could not reach her by phone. Police say Levin had killed his mother before he drove her car to Storm Lake to meet Vega.

Police recovered a knife handle, a broken knife blade, blood samples, rope, and duct tape during searches of the home and two vehicles.