The Iowa Supreme Court has overturned an appeals court ruling and upheld a jury’s verdict against a man found guilty of murdering a pregnant woman from Muscatine in 2006. Victor Serrato was convicted of first degree murder and nonconsensual termination of a pregnancy.
The pregnant woman’s body was found in a rural area just across the border in Illinois. Serrato’s attorneys argued Iowa prosecutors couldn’t prove any of Serrato’s alleged crimes happened on Iowa soil.
Prosecutors have argued Serrato’s intent to kill sprang out of a conflict that started in a Muscatine bar. It was a fight between Serrato’s pregnant girlfriend and the pregnant woman who was later found dead. She claimed Serrato was the father of both unborn babies.
Later, the dead woman and Serrato were seen fighting in the Muscatine bar’s parking lot. It was the last time she was seen alive. The Iowa Court of Appeals tossed out the jury’s decision that Serrato had strangled the woman to death. But the Iowa Supreme Court has ruled that, “taken as a whole, substantial evidence exists” to prove Iowa had “territorial jurisdiction” and the high court upheld Serrato’s conviction.