Trial will be reset for man accused of shooting woman who confronted him over stolen purse

Zackary Ildefonso looks on in the courtroom before a case management hearing at Linn County District Court in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018. Ildefonso is charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder, trafficking stolen weapons and possession of a firearm by a felon in the November 20, 2017 death of Heidi Stephens. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Zackary Ildefonso looks on in the courtroom before a case management hearing at Linn County District Court in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018. Ildefonso is charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder, trafficking stolen weapons and possession of a firearm by a felon in the November 20, 2017 death of Heidi Stephens. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — A trial for a man, accused of fatally shooting a woman who confronted him about her stolen purse, will be reset to sometime in the fall.

A trial for Zackary Ildefonso, 24, charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder, trafficking stolen weapons and possession of a firearm by a felon, was previously set for May 21. Sixth Judicial District Judge Ian Thornhill, during a brief hearing Wednesday, granted the continuance after the defense and a prosecutor told him they were still exchanging discovery materials and no depositions had been conducted.

David Grinde, Ildefonso’s lawyer, and Assistant Iowa Attorney General Laura Roan both agreed a trial date of September or early October would work for both sides.

Thornhill said he would let them know possible dates after checking with court administration.

A criminal complaint shows Heidi Stephens, 33, and another man, Andrew Shank, confronted Ildefonso at 1515 Second Ave SE on Nov. 20, about her stolen purse before he shot her. Ildefonso pulled out a Smith and Wesson .357 revolver during the confrontation and shot at Stephens and Shank.

“The defendant admitted he used the weapon to shoot at both Stephens and Shank, but claimed he fired because he thought Shank might have a knife in his possession,” according to the complaint.

Authorities said one shot hit Stephens in the back of her neck. Ildefonso ran from the scene after the shooting, but police received a tip about his whereabouts, leading to his arrest on Nov. 24. Police said when Ildefonso was arrested, he was in possession of the revolver used in the shooting. Police said the revolver was stolen and Ildefonso admitted to taking it.

Medical personnel provided aid to Stephens after the shooting, but her brother said she was declared brain dead on Nov. 22. She was kept on life support until Nov. 24 so her organs could be donated.

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“She was a very giving person and I know that’s what she’d want,” her brother, Trent Hoppe of Waterloo, told The Gazette after the arrest. “If we can prolong someone else’s life, then please, so be it.”

Ildefonso’s previous criminal record includes a burglary conviction in Benton County in October 2013. He was released from prison in July 2017. Because of the felony conviction, he is barred from possessing firearms.

He remains in jail on a $1 million bail pending trial. If convicted of all charges, Ildefonso faces life in prison without parole.

l Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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