After a Dubuque County jury found a Muscatine man guilty of murder on Tuesday for the July 2020 stabbing death of a Wilton teen, a Cedar County judge sentenced him to the maximum sentence allowed.
Milton Jermaine Cole Serrano Jr., 22, of Muscatine, was given a 50-year prison term for second-degree murder, and five years for criminal mischief, for the killing of 19-year-old Chantz Stevens.
Serrano will also serve 10 years concurrently for a previous burglary in Muscatine County.
During the sentencing, Judge Mark Lawson admonished Serrano for statements he made during the presentence investigation, according to The Muscatine Journal.
Serrano was arrested in Muscatine on July 19, 2020, after altercations at a party in Clarence, Iowa.
Prosecutors argued Serrano went to the party looking for a fight, and got into two that night. During the first, he told people he had a knife and threatened to stab people. During the second, he stabbed Stevens twice in the abdomen and died at the scene.
Serrano’s lawyer maintained he acted in self-defense.
Originally charged with first-degree murder, the jury took just two hours to convict Serrano of second-degree murder, a charge that does not require proof of specific intent or premeditation, The Muscatine Journal reported.