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Luerkens' murder trial moved out of Linn County

Nicholas Luerkens speaks with his attorney before a judge grants a change of venue for his retrial on a first degree murder charge.  Photo: Joe Huisinga CBS2/FOX28.

A judge ordered Nicholas Luerkens' new trial to take place in another county because of the media coverage of the original trial.

He agreed with the defense that it would make it difficult to find a new jury in Linn county.

Luerkens was found guilty of stabbing 29-year-old Lynnsey Donald to death on April 21, 2015 in front of Donald’s son. He then tried to kill himself on the scene. Luerkens was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

An appeals court threw out that conviction after determining the judge would not allow the jury to consider an insanity defense.

The defense acknowledges Luerkens killed Donald. They argue his depression and drugs drove him to lash out violently.

His new trial is set for December 4th, but that will likely change as they decide where to hold the trial.

The court is still working with other counties to figure that out.

Witnesses from the first trial will be expected to testify again.

The same evidence will also be presented - as well as an additional expert witness.

CBS2/FOX28 will continue to follow this case as it goes to court.

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