TIPTON – A jury trial for Milton Jermaine Cole Serrano Jr., 21, of Muscatine, who is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Chantz Stevens, 19, of Wilton, is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. May 17, 2021 at the Cedar County Courthouse.
According to court documents, during a pretrial hearing Friday, Serrano waived the right to a speedy trial and has demanded a jury trial. If Serrano seeks a deferred judgment, his lawyer must contact court administration at least two weeks prior to any plea hearing.
According to a previous filing, Serrano has pleaded not guilty to the charge, relating to an incident on July 19 in which Stevens was stabbed to death, and that he plans to claim self-defense during the trial. He remains in the Cedar County Jail under a $1 million cash-only bond.
According to police reports, Serrano was arrested at a residence in Muscatine after reports of an altercation had been made from a party at 938 Quincy Avenue in Clarence, rural Cedar County. Reports say Serrano had attended the party with several associates. During the party, he allegedly keyed a silver Toyota Camry, resulting in about $1,000 damage. He is also charged with second-degree criminal mischief for the incident.
The reports say that two physical altercations had occurred as Serrano was being asked to leave the party. During the first altercation, Serrano had allegedly made reference to having a knife and threatening to stab people. During the second altercation, with Stevens, Serrano allegedly removed the knife from his pocket and stabbed Stevens twice in the abdomen. Other people at the scene were able to get the knife away from him. Police reports also say Serrano made reference to getting a gun from his vehicle. His associates were able to convince him to leave the party.
Stevens was later pronounced dead at the scene.
Reports also say that Serrano later posted a video to social media in which he described being in a physical altercation. In the video, Serrano has what appears to be dried blood on him.
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