Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Deadly Delivery: The Donald and Marsha Levine Murders

Putting the Case Together

Detectives wanted to question Robert Levine, 49, but they couldn't find him. He had sold his company and vanished with his wife to locations unknown. The pair was tracked to various cities in the Southwest using aliases; they were also rumored to be in Mexico. However, an associate claimed that Robert had left for health reasons and because of threats from the person responsible for killing his brother.

Despite, or perhaps because of, his absence, Levine was indicted on Jan. 11, 1990, by a federal grand jury for planning and funding the killings. He surrendered three months later in Los Angeles.

As McKinney's case wound toward trial, he decided to plead guilty and testify against Levine, in exchange for avoiding the death penalty. As part of his plea deal, one of the murder charges would be dismissed along with the assault charge against Mark, meaning McKinney's sentence would range between 30 and 60 years. He asked to be placed in the federal witness protection program.

McKinney issued a sworn statement, made public on March 11, 1991. According to the Chicago Tribune, he said: "Once inside the home, while proceeding down the hallway, I encountered Donald Levine. I then shot him in the chest and in the head with a handgun. My purpose in shooting him was to kill him. I committed this murder at the request, urging and direction of Robert Levine."

McKinney told police that Levine gave him a gun, $60 for bullets, and promised to make him a millionaire. In the interim, he was given $2,000 from a college fund of Robert Levine's daughter. The pair then began plotting to get rid of Donald and his family so that Robert could inherit his fortune, McKinney claimed.

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