This story was written by City News Service
The California Supreme Court refused Wednesay to review the case against a Glendale man who stabbed his wife and left her to die and then turned a microwave oven on after putting the couple's small dog inside the appliance.
The state's highest court denied the defense petition filed on behalf of John J. Levin, who was convicted of second-degree murder for the Sept. 9, 2009, slaying of his wife, Michelle.
On May 15, a three-justice panel from California's 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected the defense's contentions that a Pasadena Superior Court judge erred in allowing jurors in Levin's trial to hear evidence that he killed the dog, Rupert.
He had pleaded no contest to an animal cruelty charge before his murder trial began.
"The evidence reasonably established that after stabbing (his wife) Michelle, and while she was bleeding to death, defendant killed Rupert because the dog was 'freaking out.' The evidence was relevant because it tended in reason to establish either that defendant harbored malice toward Michelle that carried over to the dog or that he deliberately sought to avoid discovery by neighbors whom the dog might have alerted," the justices' 12-page opinion says.
The justices also rejected the defense's contention that jurors should have gotten an instruction on unconsciousness due to voluntary intoxication.
"The record includes no evidence that defendant was intoxicated to the point of unconsciousness when he killed Michelle," the appellate court panel found. "Although defendant told police he and Michelle were 'on drugs,' there was no evidence that Carisoprodol, a muscle relaxant and pain reliever, would have rendered him unconscious. Defendant himself told police that drugs had no effect on what he had done."
Levin stabbed his wife once in the back with a knife in their bedroom, then locked the bedroom door, put their dog in the microwave oven -- where the animal was later found dead -- and turned it on before locking the apartment.
The emergency medical technician and former member of the Montrose search-and-rescue team was arrested at the U.S.-Canada border, where a check of his Volkswagen's license plate resulted in an alert for a missing person.