The Iowa Court of appeals has granted Nicholas Luerkens, who was found guilty for stabbing and killing his ex-girlfriend Lynnsey Donald in a Hy-Vee parking lot in 2015, a new trial.
Court documents say Luerkens appealed his conviction of first-degree murder, claiming the jury should have been instructed to consider his defense of insanity.
Donald's family released a statement saying the following:
We are disappointed in today’s decision in the Nicholas Luerkens case, but are confident in the Linn County Attorney's office that they will see that justice will prevail for Lynnsey. The family and close friends of Lynnsey appreciate that their privacy is respected as we understand the next steps in the process to assure Justice for our precious Lynnsey. Please continue to keep her son and family in your thoughts and prayers.
See the court document below:
Nicholas Luerkens was found guilty today for stabbing and killing his ex-girlfriend Lynnsey Donald in a Hy-Vee parking lot.
The incident occurred at a Marion Hy-Vee in April.
"We're grateful that justice has been served," said Steve Donald, Lynnsey's father moments after the verdict was announced.
The word guilty left the courtroom emotional, and Luerkens in handcuffs.
Luerkens told his family he loved them on the way out of the courtroom as they were in tears.
The guilty verdict was not surprising to the Marion Police Chief.
"The evidence we got from a search warrant after the fact, I thought that evidence was very strong, it showed there was premeditation and when there's premeditation it has to be First Degree murder," said Police Chief Harry Daugherty.
The case was emotional for many involved.
"I think the jury understood what was at stake here, I appreciate their hard work in what I know was a very emotional case for them," Linn County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden told us.
As for Lynnsey's family, they prepared a statement.
Below is the full statement by Lynnsey's Father, Steve Donald on behalf of her family:
“As Lynnsey's father I'd like to thank you all involved in the process including Mr. Jerry Vander Sanden the prosecuting attorney and all his team. The law enforcement agencies involved, the Chief of Marion and all the officers for the Police Department we appreciate you very, very much and all that you've done. Clear down to the jurors, the eyewitness that have been involved in this particular impact, from the employees of the Hy-Vee, the one's even who tried to assist Ashton and Lynnsey in Lynnsey's final moments. And very much thank you to the Horizon's survival program because Horizon's has helped us through this very tough and tough situation that we're going through. We're grateful that justice has been served. My hope is that people can learn from this situation and the issues of domestic violence and stalking need to continue to be addressed and families are not afraid to intervene with their family members or others when needed. I'd like to close by saying one day that I want people to remember, one thing I want people to remember about Lynnsey is that we will miss, we will all miss that loving contagious smile and friendly loving soul forever and that her son Ashton as you know will never have his mommy again, so any and all help for this little boy would greatly be appreciated. Her family including myself, her sister Taylor, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins friends, extended family we will all miss, miss her clearly for the rest of our lives. May God bless all of you, thank you."