Man gets 50 years for killing college basketball player

August 1, 2019

DAWSON, Iowa (AP) — An Oskaloosa man has been given 50 years in prison for stabbing to death a college basketball player.

Court records say the sentence was handed down Friday to 24-year-old Luke VanHemert. He’d been convicted in April of second-degree murder for killing 22-year-old William Penn University player Marquis Todd.

VanHemert’s lawyers had argued that he was defending himself when he killed Todd during a fight after a car crash in March 2018. They said VanHemert should have been exempt from prosecution because of Iowa’s “stand your ground” law. The law enacted in 2017 says a person doesn’t have to retreat before using deadly force if he or she reasonably thinks his or her life is being threatened.

But the judge said that law didn’t apply in VanHemert’s case and ordered him to go on trial.