Nicholas Luerkens was convicted by a jury of first-degree murder in the stabbing death of his ex girlfriend, 29-year-old Lynnsey Donald, in the parking lot of the Marion Hy-Vee in April of 2015. Police say Luerkens stabbed Donald 32 times and then tried to kill himself.
Evidence was presented at his trial that Luerkens changed dramatically after he started taking an anti-depression drug. An expert testified he suffered from a “major depressive disorder” that could have impacted his thinking. He also had issues with alcohol abuse.
Police testified that Luerkens appeared to be lucid in discussion the stabbing at the scene and at the hospital. The judge ruled there was not enough evidence to submit an insanity defense to the jury. The Court of Appeals ruled there is substantial evidence that should be submitted to the jury for them to decided if Luerkens was insane at the time of the stabbing.
The court reversed his conviction and ordered a new trial.
Here’s the full ruling: Luerkens appeal PDF