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Woman Charged with Murder Argues Stand Your Ground Law Applies to Her Case

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- A Des Moines woman charged with murder in the shooting death of her stepfather is now arguing that the new "stand your ground law" applies to her case. The stand your ground legislation was signed into law by Governor Terry Branstad on April 13 and took effect on July 1. The defendant's lawyer is arguing it should apply to deadly shooting that happened on May 8.

"I would anticipate any person who has a self-defense claim that is pending, is going to probably try to utilize the new statute," said Drake University Law Professor Robert Rigg.

Rigg says a judge in one county could rule one way and a judge in another county could rule another way, but that whatever is decided in this case could have an effect on how the law is applied to other cases, although it wouldn't be binding.

"There are a series of cases that would have occurred prior to July 1, but wouldn`t have been litigated yet, so what the defense lawyers are trying to do and attempting to argue to the court is hey, that new stand your ground legislation should apply to that group of cases, the ones that occurred before July 1," said Professor Rigg.

Last month, 29 year-old Sera Alexander pleaded not guilty to first degree murder in the death of 49-year-old Anthony Hartmann. Police say Sera admitted to shooting Anthony when he came to the home to collect some of his belongings. Alexander`s mother, Susan Hartmann, said her daughter was unaware that a previous restraining order against Anthony had recently expired.