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Indianapolis man receives 80-year sentence for sledgehammer murder of woman

Noblesville woman was beaten to death in 2018
Posted at 12:46 PM, Aug 30, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS—An Indianapolis man convicted of using a sledgehammer to beat a woman to death was sentenced to 80-years in prison by a Marion County judge, Friday.

In July, jurors took little time in convicting 26-year-old Joseph Gonzalez of murder and being a habitual criminal. Gonzalez received a 60-year sentence for the murder and 20-years for being a habitual criminal.

A probable cause document from the Marion County Prosecutor says Gonzalez used a sledgehammer to kill 37-year-old Sarah Serna of Noblesville during an argument in the early-morning hours of November 17, 2018 at a north side Indianapolis apartment. She was pronounced dead at the scene. According to the Marion County Coroner, Serna died of blunt force trauma to the head.

Police found and arrested Gonzalez in the 2000 block of North College Avenue, shortly after the murder.

Witnesses told police Gonzalez lived at what was described as a boarding house and Serna would sometimes stay with him.
The two often argued and had been fighting in the hours leading up to Serna's death, according to the witnesses.

The probable cause says a sledgehammer with blood on the handle was found on the floor of the apartment and that trauma to the victim's head "appeared to be consistent with being struck with the sledgehammer as well as other evidence of trauma."

According to her obituary, Serna had worked in retail sales and was a graduate of Hamilton Heights High School.