KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Last August, Daniel McNeill, 59, an employee of the Stadium Discount Coin Laundry and Cleaners, was found severely beaten and stabbed with his throat cut at the store. An estimated $750 was taken from the laundry, according to store officials.
After a three-day trial, Christopher Levitt, who had briefly worked at the store before being fired, has been found guilty of first-degree felony murder. He will be sentenced on March 10. The jury had several options in the case; they had to decide whether Levitt was not guilty of the charge, or guilty of first-degree premeditated murder, first-degree felony murder, both, or second-degree murder.
The verdict carries a mandatory term of life in prison without the possibility of parole. Levitt intends to appeal, his attorney says.
The police investigation continues, as two assailants are said to be involved. McNeill's wife says she hopes the other felon will be brought to justice.
McNeill was found by a customer, and shortly before bleeding to death, was able to tell a police officer that he had been attacked by "two black guys," according to the officer's testimony.
Levitt was found in San Antonio three weeks after the murder. While no physical evidence was presented, the Kalamazoo assistant prosecuting attorney Stuart Felton presented to the jury a series of circumstances, such as Levitt’s training with knives and guns during his stay with the Army National Guard, that Levitt was hanging around the store before the murder occurred and that he spent hundreds of dollars the day after the murder.
Levitt’s attorney said the evidence presented only proved that Levitt was at the laundry before the murder occurred. He added that McNeill had been introduced to Levitt when he briefly worked at the laundry, and McNeill didn’t identify him to a police officer as one of the assailants. Felton responded that McNeill was in shock and dying at the time.
McNeill had twice told a coworker that if anyone had tried to rob the store he would give them the money, according to court testimony.