Guilty of Second Degree Murder

Guilty of second degree murder.  That’s the finding a Mahaska County jury reached Monday afternoon (4/15) in Luke Van Hemert’s murder trial.  The jury of nine women and three men deliberated for about an hour and a half before reaching their verdict.  Van Hemert was accused of killing William Penn University basketball player Marquis Todd in March 2018 after an incident outside Van Hemert’s home, where Todd and two William Penn teammates had gone following a car accident involving Van Hemert and Penn basketball player Mikeal Donaldson.  Van Hemert claimed he was defending himself from Todd. Mahaska County Attorney Andrew Ritland talked about the verdict.

“The verdict makes clear that the defendant was not justified.  Marquis did not have to die that night.  That was a decision by the defendant and he’s going to have to pay the consequences of that choice in murdering Marquis Todd.”

Michelle Turner, Marquis Todd’s mother, also spoke about the verdict.

“I’m very pleased with it…..very pleased.”

Van Hemert will be sentenced in about twelve weeks.  Ritland says Van Hemert will be sentenced to 50 years in prison with a minimum of 35 years behind bars.


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