Insanity defense withdrawn in federal murder case

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Mar. 17—Attorneys for a Krebs man accused of drowning his 21-month-old daughter in 2016 withdrew a notice of insanity defense less than three weeks before a scheduled trial in federal court.

A notice of insanity defense filed in February 2022 by attorneys for Devin Sizemore intended "to introduce expert evidence at trial relating to a mental disease or defect, or other mental health condition bearing on his guilt, and if convicted, his sentence."

That motion was withdrawn during a pretrial conference held Thursday at the federal courthouse in Muskogee.

Sizemore, 28, was indicted in May 2021 in the Eastern District of Oklahoma for murder in Indian Country, second degree murder in Indian Country, voluntary manslaughter in Indian Country, child abuse in Indian Country, assault resulting in serious bodily injury in Indian Country, and assault and battery on a police officer in Indian Country.

Sizemore is accused of drowning his daughter, Emily, in a pond near Krebs on July 15, 2016, and assaulting then-Krebs Police Officer Jack Suter during his arrest.

Both the prosecution and the defense said during the Thursday hearing they are ready for trial and that discovery in the case is complete.

Prosecutors told a federal judge they anticipate seven to eight days will be needed for trial.

The federal judge told the prosecution and the defense they would be allowed 30 minutes each for opening statements.

A Pittsburg County jury originally convicted Sizemore in September 2018 of first-degree murder in the 2016 death of Emily. Investigators testified during the five-day trial that they found the child floating in a pond in rural Krebs, pulled her from the water and tried to save her life.

According to an affidavit filed in the case, Sizemore told investigators he put his daughter in a pond to "baptize her, because of all the evil in the world" and that he held her head under the water for "maybe 30 seconds."

Sizemore claimed to investigators that "something went wrong" but he was able to bring his daughter back to life after performing CPR on her.

Courtroom testimony stated around the same time, other law enforcement officers struggled with Sizemore, who was standing in the pond water not far from his daughter when they arrived at the site in the early-morning darkness.

Jury selection will begin April 3 at 9 a.m. at the federal courthouse in Muskogee. The trial is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. the same day.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Jason A. Robertson will preside over jury selection with U.S. District Judge Ronald A. White presiding over the trial.