A Dubuque County jury has begun deliberating the fate of a Muscatine man charged with first-degree murder in the July 2020 stabbing death of a Wilton teen.
The trial of Milton Jermaine Cole Serrano Jr., 22, of Muscatine, is accused of killing of 19-year-old Chantz Stevens, 19, began on Oct. 5.
Both sides in the case made final arguments Tuesday morning, according to the Muscatine Journal.
According to court documents obtained by the Quad City Times, Serrano keyed a car at a party in rural Cedar County. Party goers asked him to leave and a physical altercation ensued. The fight was broken up but “Serrano then made reference to a knife in his pocket and threatened to stab other individuals at the scene,” the newspaper reported.
At some point Serrano and Stevens got into a physical altercation and Stevens was stabbed twice in the abdomen, the report said. The victim died at the scene.
Serrano also reportedly posted about the fight on social media later that night. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges. Court records indicate he plans to claim self-defense during the trial.
The Quad City Times reported the trial was moved to Dubuque County at the request of Serrano’s attorneys.