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Thriller Thursday: This Week In Crime

Today’s Thriller Thursday features two current cases, one local (Iowa) and the other national.

Iowa City, Iowa

On January 3, Kirk Levin, age 21 was arrested and charged with murdering his mother and kidnapping another woman within hours of his release from prison on New Year’s Day.

Levin was arrested on kidnapping charges after a woman he attempted to attack managed to escape. Police then found his mother, Marilyn Schmitt, dead in her farmhouse near Early, a small town about 100 miles northwest of Des Moines.

Levin later confessed to choking and stabbing his mother to death–within 36 hours of his release from a Mount Pleasant prison. He served two years of a five-year sentence for third-degree burglary.

On Wednesday, prison officials stated they warned the sheriff about disturbing drawings Levin made while incarcerated. Prior to his release, officials discovered a notebook with explicit writings and drawings of a woman being raped.

Levin’s history is disturbing. Records show that in 2008, Levin told authorities he planned to use duct tape found in his backpack to rape a girl. In 2009, he was caught hiding in the basement of a girl he planned to attack.

Despite prior history, officials at the Mount Pleasant prison claim they had no choice to release Levin due to a state law that routinely cuts inmate sentences in half.

He’s now charged with first-degree murder, assault with intent to commit sexual assault, and third-degree kidnapping. Because he has been in and out of jail since the age of 17 and committed murder within days of his release, the judge set Levin’s bond ond at $1 million dollars. If he is convicted for murder, he will serve life in prison without the possibility of parole.


TULSA, Oklahoma

On Monday, four women were found shot to death in an apartment. Rebeika Powell, 23; Kayetie Melchor, 23; Misty Nunley, 33; and Julie Jackson, 55, were shot and killed at Tulsa’s Fairmont Terrace Apartments.

Police have arrested person of interest Joseph Tillman in Kansas. He is wanted on domestic assault and battery, and police believe he may have information regarding the case.

“The killer is still out there so there is some sort of danger to the public but I don’t think we need to be sitting in the rocking chair with a gun pointed at the door. There was some reason for what has occurred and I am confident the investigation will come out.” –Tulsa Homicide Sergeant Dave Walker.

Walker stated police are looking at narcotics, domestic issues, and money as motive. They also believe the shooter knew the victim. He stressed that at this point, Tillman is not a suspect but a person of interest.

Neighbors are on edge and some claim they have been warned to stay quiet. Most of them can’t afford to move.


What would you do if a murder happened near you? Would you be afraid to speak to the police? Would you be able to move or stay with a friend?

In regards to the Iowa case, should prison officials be held partially responsible for Levin’s actions? Or the state lawmakers?

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In celebration of her first novel release, August McLaughlin is hosting a giveaway and thrill-fest on her blog and Facebook. The fun starts today, and chances to enter the raffle for prices (thrilling books and author interviews) continue through Saturday. Participating authors include myself, Amanda Kyle Williams, David Freed, DP Lype, Donna Galanti, and Amy Shojai. August will also be giving away three signed copies of IN HER SHADOW, hot off the presses in a couple of weeks.

Visit the raffle here, and for more details, hop over to August’s blog.

13 comments on… “Thriller Thursday: This Week In Crime”

  1. I don’t know what I would do if a murder happened near me. If I knew anything, I’d tell it to the police. I don’t think I would move away because of a murder. I would move away because I don’t like it here.

    • I think I would worry. This summer was tough because of the white van incidents around us where people were trying to snatch kids – and this was after the 2 girls an hour away were taken. LOL. I know you are counting the days!

  2. I have a very strong sense of justice, so yeah, I’d tell anything and everything I knew to the police. I’d want any murderer nailed to the wall, and if I could help drive the nails, so be it. That sounds harsh, but hello! murder! My compassion rests with the victims and their families.

    • I would too. I wouldn’t be able to keep anything to myself. I’m the same way, especially being a parent and as I get older. I have zero tolerance. Thanks!

  3. Always love reading your post–full of such creepy evil inspiration. Can’t wait to read your book! (just got it…)

    • Thank you so much! Hope you enjoy it. I’m glad you liked this post – I’ve had to streamline because they are so time consuming. Love yours as well. Have learned a lot about my pets:)

  4. Since I was a victim of kidnapping and attempted murder I know exactly what I would do, I would speak out. I have spent 20 years, almost 21 now working to keep my offenders behind bars serving their sentences. Last year they were all released, one because he had served all his time the other two because they made parole after 20 years of their 35 year sentence. Murder happens near me, I see it or I know anything, I speak up. Justice is the only thing. Fear has no place in a civil society.

    Yes, the prison system and the parole board share in what happened.

    • Wow, Valentine, thank you for sharing. I can’t believe your attackers were released. I don’t see how anyone who commits violent crime deserves any kind of parole. Thanks again for sharing with us, and good for you for working so hard to right the system.

  5. That’s so upsetting that he was let go because of a law. That woman would still be alive if it didn’t exist. But, like with everything, there’s not just one person to blame. I understand why those laws are made, but it’s exceptions like this that really make you think twice about them.

    • Yes, that’s true. There isn’t one person to blame, but like so many of our systems, the justice and prison system need major overhauls.

      Thanks for commenting!

  6. I hadn’t heard about either of these stories, not even the Oklahoma murders.. being that we’re so close to OK and all. So sad. What is wrong with people? Thank you so much for sharing both stories. And I agree–our prison system needs a major overhaul!

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