Criminal Complaint Sheds Light On Marquis Todd Stabbing

Luke VanHemert (Mahaska County Jail Photo)

Luke VanHemert (Mahaska County Jail Photo)

by Charlie Comfort and Ken Allsup

Oskaloosa, Iowa – Questions continue to linger as to the events that led to the stabbing death of William Penn University student Marquis Todd.

On Wednesday morning, Mahaska County Attorney James Q. Blomgren told Oskaloosa News that an arrest warrant had been issued for Luke VanHemert, with a charge of 2nd Degree Murder. The warrant was issued late Tuesday, March 13th, 2018.

On Wednesday, officers with the Oskaloosa Police Department, Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, and the Mahaska County Sheriff’s Office arrested Luke VanHemert, 23, of Oskaloosa, at his place of employment in Pella. VanHemert was charged with one count of second-degree murder in the death of Todd.

A press conference was called for 1:00 pm, March 14th, in the emergency operations center of the Mahaska County Law Center.

The criminal complaint outlines the incident:

“On Thursday, March 1st, 2018 at approximately 10:50 p.m. Oskaloosa Police were dispatched to 603 North 3rd Street Oskaloosa in reference to a physical altercation that had just occurred. Prior to officers arrival, it was learned that three individuals left the scene in a silver vehicle heading in a southbound direction towards Jiffy located at 315 A Avenue East and North 3rd Street. It was also learned that one of the males in the silver vehicle had been injured as a result of the altercation.”

“While en route to 603 North 3rd street officers located the silver vehicle parked at Jiffy. Upon making contact with the occupants were identified as Mikeal Donaldson of South Carolina, D’Angelo Allen of Dallas, Texas, the third occupant was lying in the backseat and appeared to be injured. Emergency Services were dispatched to the scene. The third male in the vehicle was identified as Marquis Todd of Woodridge, Illinois. It was also learned that Todd had at least one wound to his chest area. Todd was transported to the Mahaska Health Partnership emergency room where he was later pronounced dead from his injuries.”

“Officers also responded to 603 North 3rd street and located three males in the front yard. These males were identified as Stanley VanHemert of Oskaloosa, Luke VanHemert of Oskaloosa, and Elijah Marcus of Oskaloosa. It was learned that Luke VanHemert and Elijah Marcus were involved in the physical altercation with the other three males in the silver vehicle.”

“After talking with all parties involved it was learned that the incident was proceeded by a minor vehicle accident on North 3rd street in front of 603 North 3rd street. The accident led to a verbal altercation that escalated into a physical altercation. During the physical altercation, Luke VanHemert engaged Marquis Todd while Elijah Marcus, Mikeal Donaldson, and D’Angelo Allen confronted each other. Stanley VanHemert called the Mahaska County E911 Center and reported the altercation and that one of the males in the silver vehicle had been injured from the fight. It was learned that Marquis Todd had no other contact with anyone besides Luke VanHemert at the time of the fight.”

“The State Medical Examiners Officer has done an autopsy on Marquis Todd and ruled his death a Homicide as a result from stab wounds inflicted by (a) sharp object.”

During a press conference held Wednesday afternoon, Special Agent Mike Motsinger, of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, announced the arrest and stated that any further decisions on additional charges would land on the shoulders of the Mahaska County Attorney’s Office. He also stressed that there was no reason to believe that the stabbing was race related.

“This all happened in regards to a minor traffic incident,” Motsinger said.

Motsinger also clarified that while all parties had been interviewed by the day after the fight, additional information, largely through social media, continued to flow in. This caused investigators to have to sort out “facts and non-facts,” slowing the investigative process.

VanHemert is currently being held in the Mahaska County Jail on a $500,000 cash only bond. A preliminary hearing has been set for March 21 at 11:30 a.m. No date for arraignment has been set.

Online court records indicate that Assistant Attorney General Andrew Prosser will prosecute the case on behalf of the state. No defense attorneys have entered an appearance for VanHemert.

A criminal charge is merely a charge and not an indication of guilt. All suspects should be considered innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.

Posted by on Mar 19 2018. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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