Judge: ‘Stand Your Ground’ Law Doesn’t Apply in Sera Alexander Murder Case

Sera Alexander (WHO-HD)

DES MOINES, Iowa – A Des Moines woman charged with first degree murder in the death of her stepfather will not be able to rely on Iowa’s “stand your ground” law as a defense.

The judge in the murder case of Sera Alexander issued his ruling Tuesday on the matter.

Alexander claims the “stand your ground” legislation that was signed  by Gov. Terry Branstad on April 13, 2017, but didn’t take effect until July 1st, 2017, should retroactively apply to her case. Alexander is accused of shooting and killing her stepfather, 49-year-old Anthony Hartmann, on May 8th, 2017.

Alexander has admitted to shooting Hartmann when he came to the family’s home to collect some of his belongings. Her mother, Susan Hartmann, says her daughter was not aware at the time of the shooting that a previous restraining order against Anthony had recently expired.

In July, Alexander’s attorneys filed documents informing the court of their intent to pursue a defense based on the “stand your ground” law. The state opposed the decision, saying the new law did not apply in the case.

That left District Court Judge Robert Blink to make a ruling on adjudication of law points.

The judge’s ruling states, “The defendant in this case may not rely on the amended Iowa Code Chapter 704 ‘stand your ground’ defense because that law was prospective in nature. The Court takes no position with regard to the constitutionality of the new law, as such a finding is not necessary to the resolution of the issue at bar.”

Alexander is scheduled to go to trial on December 4th.