VanHemert mugshot

MAHASKA COUNTY — Luke Van Hemert's motion requesting immunity from prosecution has been denied and Van Hemert will undergo trial.

Van Hemert is accused of killing William Penn University student Marquis Todd in March of 2018, and is charged with murder in the second degree.

On March 14, 2019, Van Hemert's attorneys submitted a motion to enforce immunity from further prosecution and dismissal of the criminal trial, citing "Stand Your Ground laws." Prosecuting attorneys resisted the motion.

On Tuesday, March 26, the district court gave a ruling. According to court documents, the defendant claimed he acted in self-defense, using "reasonable force to repel an aggressor," a claim contended by the State.

In addition, according to court documents, the defense counsel claims Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law is "virtually identical" to Iowa law. The district court highlighted several differences and concluded Iowa Code does not provide a defendant with the "possibility of immunity from prosecution," nor does it entitle Van Hemert to a pretrial evidentiary hearing.

The district court denied the defendant's motion to enforce immunity, and there will be no further evidentiary hearing.

Van Hemert's trial is set for 9 a.m., April 9.

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