Murder trial set to begin Monday

·3 min read

Apr. 1—The federal trial of a Krebs man accused of drowning his infant daughter in 2016 is set to begin Monday in Muskogee.

Devin Sizemore, 28, is accused of drowning his 21-month-old daughter, Emily, in a pond near Krebs on July 15, 2016, and assaulting then-Krebs Police Officer Jack Suter during his arrest.

Sizemore 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.

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

Sizemore's conviction was overturned in 2021 after the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals applied the 2020 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma to the Choctaw Nation.

The nation's top court declared Congress never disestablished the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Reservation and a subsequent ruling applied the analysis to the remaining Five Tribes and the Quapaw Nation.

The decision meant Oklahoma lost criminal jurisdiction over Native Americans in what is defined by federal statute as "Indian Country" — meaning the criminal jurisdiction of Sizemore fell under the federal government due to his Native American status.

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

Attorneys for Sizemore also withdrew a notice of insanity defense filed in February 2022. Attorneys said they 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."

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.

An affidavit filed in the case states 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.