TIPTON — A pretrial conference has been set for 9 a.m. Oct. 16 after Milton Jermaine Cole Serrano Jr., 21, of Muscatine entered not-guilty pleas for charges of first-degree murder and second-degree criminal mischief.
Serrano is accused of the stabbing death of Chantz Stevens, 19, of Wilton.
According to court documents, Judge Mark Lawson ordered all motions be filed within 40 days of the written arraignment entered Sept. 16 and all discovery completed within 40 days after that, unless the time is extended by another court order. Serrano remains in the Cedar County Jail under a $1 million cash-only bond. Serrano is represented by Miguel Puentes of the Davenport Public Defender’s Office.
The charges stem from a July 19 party at which Stevens was stabbed to death at 938 Quincy Ave., Clarence, in rural Cedar County. The charge of second- degree criminal mischief alleges that Serrano keyed a silver Toyota Camry belonging to another party, resulting in about $1,000 damage.
According to the police reports, Serrano had been asked to leave the party by several other partygoers, which led to two physical altercations. After the first altercation, Serrano allegedly made reference to having a knife in his pocket and threatened to stab people at the scene.
When Serrano got into the second altercation, with Stevens, he allegedly retrieved the knife from his pocket and stabbed Stevens twice in the abdomen. Another person at the scene was able to get the knife away from Serrano. The report says that Serrano then made reference that he was going to his vehicle to get a gun. People who attended the party with Serrano were able to convince him to leave the area.
Several people at the scene attempted to give first aid to Stevens but were unsuccessful. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Later that morning, Serrano posted to social media, saying he had been involved in a physical altercation and had stabbed someone. In the post, Serrano has what appears to be dried blood on him.
Muscatine police located Serrano at a residence in Muscatine. According to records, Serrano admitted to having been involved in an altercation in which he stabbed someone. Evidence was seized at the scene, including clothing that was consistent with those described by witnesses.