OTTUMWA — Jury selection is scheduled to begin Tuesday in a first-degree murder trial in Ottumwa.

Douglas Raymond Spurgeon, 43, of Ottumwa, facing charges of first-degree murder, assault while participating in a felony and going armed with intent. Jury selections for the trial will begin Tuesday in Wapello County, with the trial following after selections are complete. Spurgeon has pled not guilty to all charges.

Last month a judge denied a request by prosecutors to delay the trial after Spurgeon's attorney filed a list of witnesses they plan to call during the trial. The attorney has said in court filings that Spurgeon will pursue claim self-defense at trial.

"The defendant [Spurgeon] was attacked by the alleged victim [Sapp] and defended himself and was so distraught that the defendant suffered a mental breakdown," Spurgeon's attorney Bob Breckenridge wrote in a December filing. "The witnesses will only testify that the defendant did not exhibit such behavior before the attack."

Spurgeon was charged after police found 55-year-old Gerald William Sapp fatally stabbed in the 100 block of North Hancock Street in Ottumwa.

Kyle Ocker is the editor of the Ottumwa Courier and the Oskaloosa Herald. He can be reached at kocker@ottumwacourier.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kyle_Ocker.

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Kyle Ocker is a Centerville native and award-winning multimedia journalist. Kyle is currently the president of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council and vice president of the Iowa Print Sports Writers Association.

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