VanHemert Sentenced to 50 years

Luke Vanhemert smirks as Malcom Turner, Marquis Todd’s stepfather, reads a victim impact statement. Ken Allsup/Oskaloosa News


OSKALOOSA – Luke Ryan VanHemert will spend most of his life viewing the world through prison bars. The 24-year old Oskaloosan was sentenced Friday afternoon by District 8 Judge Lucy Gamon on account of his second-degree murder conviction. The sentence was handed down during a hearing to hear a motion for re-trial and arrest of judgment before Gamon made her ruling.

A Mahaska County jury convicted VanHemert in April for the death of former William Penn student Marquis Todd on the night of March 1, 2018.

Just after 1 p.m. VanHemert, dressed in jail gray-striped uniform, entered the courtroom with his counsel Allen Cook III and Nicole Jensen, along with a Mahaska County Sheriff deputy. VanHemert was in handcuffs and made no statement to the court except to answer Judge Gamon’s questions.

Cook addressed the court asserting that the verdict did not meet all the elements of the crime. He reiterated the information provided in the May 30, 2019 documents requesting an arrest of judgment and re-trial because the state did not meet the requirement to support “malice and aforethought” as required for consideration of second-degree murder. He cited conversations counsel had with jurors that there might have been confusion whether the rock-throwing incidents prior to the altercation between VanHemert and Todd should have been considered.

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