Luke Van Hemert

A Mahaska County jury took about an hour and a half of deliberation to find Luke Van Hemert of Oskaloosa guilty of second-degree murder Monday in the death of a William Penn University basketball player.

Van Hemert was accused of killing Marquis Todd in March 2018 after an incident outside Van Hemert’s home. Testimoney showed Todd and two William Penn teammates had gone to the home following a car accident involving Van Hemert and basketball player Mikeal Donaldson.

Van Hemert claimed he was defending himself from Todd. Mahaska County Attorney Andrew Ritland talked about the verdict. “The verdict makes clear that the defendent was not justified. Marquis did not have to die that night — that was a decisio by the dependent,” Ritland says. “And he is going to have to pay the consequences of that choice of murdering Marquis Todd.

Marquis Todd’s mother, Michelle Turner, also spoke about the verdict, saying:”I am very pleased with it. Very pleased.”

Van Hemert will be sentenced in about twelve weeks. Ritland says Van Hemert will be sentenced to 50 years in prison with a minimum of 35 years behind bars.

(By Joe Lancello, KBOE, Oskaloosa)