The Muscatine man charged with murder in the July 19 stabbing death of 2019 Wilton High School graduate Chantz Stevens, 19, of Wilton, pled not guilty.
Filed in Iowa District Court in Cedar County Sept. 17, Milton J. Serrano, Jr., 21, entered a written plea of not guilty to the charges of murder in the first degree, and criminal mischief in the second degree.
Serrano, represented by Miguel Puentes of the Public Defender’s Office in Davenport, also waived his right to a speedy trial, and will participate in a trial setting conference. He remains in the Cedar County Jail.
The following narrative was provided by Cedar County Sheriff Deputy Austin Sorgenfrey in an affidavit previously filed with the Cedar County Court:
The defendant, Milton Jermaine Cole Serrano Jr., attended a party at 936 Quincy Avenue in Clarence in rural Cedar County during the early morning hours of July 19.
While attending the party, Milton Serrano Jr. intentionally, and without any right or permission to do so, keyed a silver Toyota Camry belonging to Lenny Edens, resulting in approximately $1,000 worth of damage to the vehicle.
After keying the vehicle, Milton Serrano Jr. was confronted by other party attendees and told multiple times to leave. A physical altercation ensued between Milton Serrano Jr. and another individual. The physical altercation was broken up and the parties were separated. Milton Serrano Jr. then made reference to a knife in his pocket and threatened to stab other individuals at the scene.
Milton Serrano Jr. was then involved in a physical altercation with Chantz Stevens. When the altercation went to the ground, Milton Serrano Jr. retrieved a knife from his pocket and stabbed Stevens twice in the abdomen.
An individual at the scene was able to take the knife away from Milton Serrano Jr. Milton Serrano Jr. then made reference to going to his vehicle and getting a gun. Milton Serrano Jr.’s associates were able to convince him to leave the area and travel to Muscatine.
Several individuals attempted to render first aid to Stevens. However, their efforts were unsuccessful and the victim eventually succumbed to his injuries. An autopsy is pending but there was no apparent cause of death other than the two puncture wounds to the victim’s abdomen.
Later that morning, Milton Serrano Jr. posted to social media, making reference to being involved in a physical altercation and stabbing someone. In the post, Milton Serrano Jr. has what appears to be dried blood on his person and is brandishing a knife that appears consistent with witness accounts of the knife used in the stabbing. The knife in the social media posts has what appears to be dried blood on the blade.
Milton Serrano Jr. was located at a residence in Muscatine and detained for further investigation. Milton Serrano Jr. subsequently admitted to law enforcement that he had been involved in an altercation early this morning during which he stabbed an individual. Milton Serrano Jr. further admitted the knife he used in the stabbing should be present in the residence in which he was found by law enforcement. A search warrant was executed on the residence and clothing consistent with those described by witnesses to the stabbing was seized.