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A Marion police investigator testified Wednesday about Nicholas Luerkens' 'To do” list which spelled out his plan for April 21: 'Plot to track down and kill Lynnsey.”
Det. Matt Jenatscheck said the journal that contained the list was found in Luerkens' apartment the day after the stabbing death of his former girlfriend Lynnsey Donald on April 21. Inside the journal was written, 'Property belonging to Nick L.” It listed more than once 'Lynnsey will die,” 'Lynnsey deserves to die” and 'Think about ways to kill Lynnsey.”
Luerkens, 33, is charged with first-degree murder. According to testimony Tuesday, Luerkens attacked Donald, 29, as she was leaving the Marion Hy-Vee with her 7-year-old son. Luerkens stabbed her multiple times, numerous witnesses testified Tuesday. After killing her, he stabbed and injured himself.
The prosecution rested Wednesday and the defense started its case and continue 9 a.m. Thursday in Linn County District Court. The trial is expected to wrap up Friday. Follow Gazette reporter Trish Mehaffey's live coverage from the courtroom.
Marion police officer Karl Djerf testified about data and call logs he extracted from cell phones belonging to Luerkens and Donald.
According to other testimony Wednesday, Donald broke up with Luerkens in December 2014 or January of this year.
Luerkens called Donald 150-175 times between Feb. 9 and April 2. She only called him 20-24 times during that same period.
The last time Donald sent a text to Luerkens on April 20, she told him 'No, I'm done.” Djerf said. Luerkens wanted to get back together. Luerkens also called her at 2:07 and 3:06 p.m. on April 21 but he doesn't know if Donald hung up or it went to voice message. The calls only lasted about 6 seconds.
State Deputy Medical Examiner Dennis Klein testified about the autopsy. He said Donald had 32 stab wounds over her body. She had a neck wound that cut through muscle, thyroid and her windpipe. The deepest stab wounds, 3-1/2 to 4 inches, were in her chest and upper stomach area and her back. The five stab wounds in her chest went into the lung. She also had cuts on the back of the right hand and on her left hand and wrist.
In other testimony, a family that Donald lived with and who they considered their daughter testified about Luerkens following Donald after she ended the relationship.
Paula Feltz-Fields of Marion, testified Donald and her son lived with her family before she dated Luerkens and in the period after she broke with him up until her death. Luerkens and Donald had a good relationship in the beginning. She started dating him in 2013 and she and her son moved in with Luerkens in September 2014. Donald moved out in January when Luerkens started drinking.
Feltz-Fields said Luerkens kept showing up at their home after Donald moved in and wanted to reunite but Donald continued to say no. Another time, Luerkens showed up at a restaurant and they had to threaten to call police to make him leave.
Debbie and Cameron Luerkens testifying for the defense, said their son became depressed after Donald broke up with him and he lost his job in December. He didn't want to eat, couldn't sleep and wasn't the normal 'fun loving Nick” as in the past.
The Luerkens both testified their son's demeanor significantly changed after he started taking the anti-depressant Paxil. He started having nighmares, vomiting and he felt like he couldn't breathe. Their son also became lethargic.
Cameron Luerkens said they tried to get their son mental health treatment, along with medication, but he refused to get help. Nick sent them hateful text messages on April 20 and the family talked on April 21 about doing an intervention before they found out about Donald's death.
Linn County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden asked both of them if they thought their son didn't know right from wrong. Luerkens is claiming he had diminished capacity at the time of the killing.
Cameron said he didn't think his son could distinguish right from wrong.