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Authorities continue murder investigation

The Fairfield Ledger, USA
Mar. 3, 2004
Erik Gable • Thursday March 4, 2004

Magistrate sets $1 million bond for suspect; preliminary hearing scheduled for next week.

Authorities are still investigating the fatal stabbing of Levi Butler, 19, a Maharishi University of Management student from LaQuinta, Calif.

Another student, Shuvender Sem, 24, of Lancaster, Pa., is accused of stabbing Butler to death with a small paring knife Monday evening in the university dining hall.

Tuesday afternoon, the Jefferson County magistrate set Sem’s bond at $1 million. A bond review hearing is set for 11 a.m. Tuesday and a preliminary hearing in the case is set for 11 a.m. March 12.

The court also appointed attorney Les Lamping of Washington, Iowa, to represent the defendant.

The investigation into Butler’s death continued today as state and local authorities tried to find out exactly what happened.

Jefferson County attorney Tim Dille said this morning it isn’t clear what led to the assault in the Annapurna Dining Hall on campus, but it appears there was no confrontation.

“We’re still doing interviews with witnesses, piecing everything together,” he said.

Dille said someone called 911 from the cafeteria while a number of students attempted to help Butler. He said Joel Wysong, the university’s dean of men, took Sem to another part of the cafeteria.

Sem was calm when he was arrested, Officer Colin Smith, who responded to the 911 call, said Tuesday.

Dille said the knife used in the attack had been picked up and put on a table when police arrived. Investigators don’t know if someone disarmed Sem or if he simply dropped the knife.

The initial 911 call came in at 7:03 p.m. Butler was taken by ambulance to Jefferson County Hospital, where he died from his injuries.

After the attack on Butler, police learned of another incident that occurred on campus earlier in the day.

Sem allegedly used a ball-point pen to stab another student, John Killian, in the face. According to police reports, the attack occurred between 2:30 and 3 p.m. during a class called Teaching for Enlightenment.

According to documents filed in Iowa District Court for Jefferson County, Killian told investigators he would have been stabbed in the neck if he hadnt put his hand up to block the blow. Seven stitches were required to close the wound.

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