Missouri plans to seek death penalty for Mexican national

AP News
|
Posted: May 20, 2016 7:22 PM

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri prosecutors on Friday filed their formal plan to pursue the death penalty against a Mexican national in the shooting death of a man a day after he allegedly killed four people in Kansas.

Prosecutors in Montgomery County submitted court papers saying they will seek capital punishment for Pablo Serrano-Vitorino if he's convicted of first-degree murder in the March 8 death of Randy Nordman at that man's home in New Florence, about 70 miles west of St. Louis. Serrano-Vitorino also is charged with armed criminal action and burglary.

A judge last week ordered Serrano-Vitorino, 40, to stand trial on the Missouri charges and scheduled a June 1 arraignment. A message left Friday with Serrano-Vitorino's attorney seeking comment on the case was not immediately returned.

Serrano-Vitorino, who federal immigration officials have said is in the U.S. illegally, is accused in Kansas of killing a Kansas City, Kansas, neighbor and three other men at the neighbor's home the night before Nordman was slain nearly 200 miles away. Serrano-Vitorino was captured after a manhunt and is jailed in Missouri without bond.Authorities have not discussed a motive for any of the killings.

In his court filing Friday, Montgomery County Prosecutor Nathan Carroz cited "aggravated circumstances" related to Nordman's slaying that make the case eligible for the death penalty. Among them: The Missouri killing was a continuation of the Kansas shooting rampage, Nordman's killing involved burglary and robbery, and that slaying was "outrageously or wantonly vile, horrible or inhuman" in its randomness and its "callous disregard for the sanctity of human life."

Carroz also cited Serrano-Vitorino's previous legal issues that have included California charges involving spousal battery and threats with the intent to terrorize, as well as Kansas charges since 2012 involving domestic battery and two cases of driving under the influence.