Trial set to begin for woman accused of killing stepfather

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A trial is scheduled to begin Monday for a woman accused of killing her stepfather in Des Moines.

Twenty-nine-year-old Sera Alexander has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder. Alexander is accused of shooting to death Anthony Hartmann.

A judge has refused to let Alexander use Iowa’s new “stand your ground” defense against the charge, noting the law was “prospective in nature.” It took effect July 1 last year, nearly two months after Hartmann was shot.

The law says a person doesn’t have to retreat before using deadly force if the person thinks his or her life is being threatened.

Her attorney has said family members reported that Hartmann had a history of abusive behavior toward them. Police have said Hartmann didn’t threaten or hurt Alexander immediately before he was shot.