Sunday, October 30, 2022

The Murder of Brittany Zimmermann

Brittany Zimmermann, age 21

Brittany Zimmerman was only 21 years-old when she was brutally murdered inside the home she shared with her fiancé on April 2nd, 2008. The University of Wisconsin-Madison student was murdered in the middle of the day, just blocks away from the Madison Police Department. When Brittany’s fiancé returned home to their apartment that afternoon, he found Brittany slain on the floor. She had been brutally stabbed and strangled to death. 

The Madison, Wisconsin home where Brittany was murdered 

It was later revealed that Brittany actually called 911 minutes before she was murdered. The dispatchers hung up on her, claiming they did not hear any sounds of a struggle in the phone call. Once Brittany’s body was found, it became clear that she was, in fact, in danger when she called the police. Brittany’s fiancé was questioned and ruled out as a suspect, and after that, it appeared that police had very few leads about the identity of her killer. 

Finally, in 2016, investigators told Brittany’s parents that they found DNA evidence belonging to David Kahl--a man who was already behind bars for his 7th DWI charge. Police apparently confronted Kahl with this information, and he said that he was with Brittany on the day she was killed, but he denies being the killer. The police department advised Brittany’s family members to not publicly talk about this information, however Brittany’s mother stated that she could no longer sit back knowing that her daughter’s killer has not been apprehended. 

David Kahl mugshot

Later that year, police became familiar with a man named Andrew Scoles, who had previously been in prison with Kahl. Scoles stated that Kahl broke down to him and confessed to being Brittany’s killer. Scoles offered to tell the police this information in exchange for his two previous felony convictions being expunged from his record. Brittany’s mother contacted Scoles via e-mail and begged him to come forward, but unfortunately nothing ever came of that. In August 2017, Scoles was killed in a motorcycle accident. Any potential information he had about Brittany’s murder died with him.

It took years, but finally, in March 2020, David Kahl was arrested and charged with Brittany's murder. The arrest came nearly four years after investigators reportedly matched Kahl's DNA to DNA evidence that was found at the crime scene. At that time, it was also revealed that Kahl was one of the people police interviewed just days after Brittany was found dead. 

During that 2008 interview, Kahl reportedly told investigators that he was in Brittany's neighborhood on the day of her death, going door-to-door asking residents for money so he could buy drugs. Despite this admission, police did not consider Kahl to be a suspect at the time. He did not resurface in the investigation until 2016, when police were finally able to identify the DNA found at the crime scene.

Kahl was charged in Dane County Circuit Court with first-degree intentional homicide. In October of 2022, he pleaded guilty to the charges. He admitted that he saw Brittany as she returned home from classes on the day of her murder. David said that he was on drugs when he forced himself into her apartment and committed the murder. 

Kahl is expected to spend his life behind bars.

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