Public Safety

Klein pleads not guilty

Trial scheduled for November

Steven Klein answers questions from the judge during his initial hearing at the Johnson County Jail in Iowa City on Satu
Steven Klein answers questions from the judge during his initial hearing at the Johnson County Jail in Iowa City on Saturday, July 18, 2015. ¬ (KC McGinnis / The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — Steven Klein is scheduled to go to trial in November for the 1995 murder of Susan Kersten.

According to online court records, Klein, 54, entered a not guilty plea to first-degree murder on Thursday. On Friday, his trial was set for November 3 and his final pretrial conference was scheduled for October 23.

Klein is accused of killing 38-year-old Kersten in September 1995. Authorities said her body was found in her car in a farm field southeast of Iowa City on Sept. 24. The car was severely burned, but police said Kersten died from several blows to her head.

Trial information filed in the case alleges Klein “struck the victim causing blunt force trauma to her head.” Klein then put Kersten’s body in her car, moved it to a nearby field and caused the car to catch fire, according to the trial information.

If convicted of first-degree murder, Klein would face an automatic life sentence. He remains in custody on a $1 million bond, though his attorney has filed a motion seeking to amend his bond conditions. A hearing on that motion has not yet been scheduled.

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