The Iowa Court of Appeals has reversed the convictions of a Muscatine man in the death of his girlfriend and her unborn baby saying prosecutors failed to prove the crime happened in Iowa. Victor Serrato was convicted of first-degree murder and nonconsensual termination of a human pregnancy for the death of Miriam Carmona and her unborn child.
Carmona’s body was found in a ditch in Rock Island, Illinois, on October 22, 2006 not far from the Iowa-Illinois bridge that crosses into Muscatine. The coroner determined Carmona had been strangled to death. D.N.A. found in blood at the scene matched both Serrato and Carmona.
Serrato and Carmona had been involved in a fight the night before at a Muscatine bar over whether or not Serrato was the father of Carmona’s baby. Prosecutors said the fight gave them evidence of Serrato’s intent to kill Carmona — and the intent to kill her then gave the state jurisdiction over the case.
The Iowa Court of Appeals ruled that the element of intent alone is sufficient to invoke the state’s territorial jurisdiction, but concluded the state failed to present sufficient evidence to prove Serrato had the specific intent to kill while he was in Iowa to invoke the state’s territorial jurisdiction.