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Trial ordered for suspect in U.W.-Madison student’s 2008 murder

David A. Kahl (right) was ordered to stand trial for the 2008 killing of Brittany Zimmermann.
David A. Kahl (right) was ordered to stand trial for the 2008 killing of Brittany Zimmermann.(NBC15)
Published: Jul. 15, 2021 at 9:11 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WSAW) - The man charged with killing a University of Wisconsin-Madison student and Marshfield native in 2008 will head to trial.

Kahl, 54, is charged with first-degree intentional homicide in the death of 21-year-old Brittany Zimmermann. Zimmermann was stabbed to death on April 2, 2008, in her apartment in Madison.

A number of experts testified during David Kahl’s preliminary hearing that was more than two hours long.

In March, Kahl’s attorney said he had recent medical episodes which raised questions about whether he had the ability to assist in his defense. However, last month he was found competent to stand trial.

Kahl is serving a prison sentence at Oshkosh Correctional Institution for a seventh-offense drunken driving conviction.

Kahl’s next court date has not yet been set.

The murder happened in broad daylight, just blocks away from the police department. Zimmermann called 911, the call was dropped, and the Dane County dispatcher never called her back.

Detectives say Kahl, who lived about a mile from Zimmermann’s apartment, was panhandling for money on April 2, 2008. They said he made a loop, approaching four different people over the course of 50 minutes. The complaint stated as he walked down Wilson Street, Bedford, and finally Doty Street, asking people for $40. Police say the timeline puts him at Zimmermann’s apartment at the time of her murder.

Detectives say they brought him in for questioning that day, and say he told them he asked people for money to buy crack. The complaint states he admitted to being high that day. Detectives also noticed he had small cuts on his hand. A criminal complaint says Kahl changed his story a number of times over the years.

In 2018, analysts matched Kahl’s DNA with evidence from Zimmermann’s shirt. Later, a match was found between Kahl and the jeans she was wearing that day.

Kahl is also a registered sex offender and was convicted of second degree sexual assault in 1993.

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