Man accused of killing his mother with a crowbar pleads not guilty

Defendant claims he was acting in self-defense

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A man accused of killing his mother with a crowbar pleaded not guilty in a written arraignment Tuesday filed in Linn County District Court.

Edward Cusic, 44, of Cedar Rapids, is charged with first-degree murder in the homicide of Anita Cusic-Labkon, 68, who was beaten and had blunt force injuries to her face and arms Dec. 7, 2012, according to court documents.

A trial date hasn't been set at this time. Cusic remains in jail under a $1 million bond.

Cusic told a police dispatcher when he called 911 that night that he killed his mother with a crowbar because she had threatened him with a knife in the home they shared. He told police his mother was bipolar and suicidal.

According to a criminal complaint, Cusic told police his mother had threatened him with a dagger, so he went to the garage where he got a crowbar and used it to kill her.

Police found Cusic-Labkon’s body face up on a bed in the back bedroom, with a crowbar between her legs, according to a search warrant affidavit. Investigators also located a handgun on top of a dresser in the bedroom and a dagger under pillows in the bedroom.

Cusic in a jailhouse interview with a Gazette reporter said he was acting in self-defense that night and only intended to injure his mother. He said his mother pointed a gun at him and said "I'll send you straight to hell."

Cusic also claimed in the interview that his mother carried a .380 handgun in her pocket and had another gun in her bedroom and several daggers in the house.

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