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Examiner
  • Two charged with first-degree murder in Independence triple homicide

  • An Independence man and a Kansas City man face first-degree murder charges in what Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker described as execution-style killings in a home invasion on Pope Avenue in Independence on Friday.

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  • An Independence man and a Kansas City man face first-degree murder charges in what Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker described as execution-style killings in a home invasion on Pope Avenue in Independence on Friday.
    Antonio Cervantes III, 32, of Independence and Kevin M. Finley, 33, each face three counts of first-degree murder, three counts of armed criminal action, one count of first-degree assault and one count of first-degree burglary in the deaths of Maria Hernandez, 48, her son, Antonio Hernandez, 20, and Tomas Dominguez, 33. A 12-year-old son of Maria Hernandez’s also was shot but Baker said he is expected to recover.
    Cervantes and Finley are both in custody and being held without bond, Peters Baker said Wednesday.
    Peters Baker called the shootings execution-style killings.
    “They used duct tape, their mouths were covered, their hands were tied behind their backs and they were executed,” Peters Baker said.
    Court documents say that a third person was involved in the home invasion in the 1500 block of Pope Avenue, but Independence police Capt. Ed Turner said that because of an active investigation that they will not identify the third suspect at this time or say what that man’s role was in the incident.
    Court documents say that a witness said three “Hispanic males” entered the detached garage where he was drinking with Antonio Hernandez. Then Hernandez and the unnamed witness were beaten and bound with duct tape. Court documents say the assailants asked where the drugs were and told Hernandez they would kill his family if he didn’t tell. The witness told police that the suspects took Hernandez inside the house and he heard several gunshots.
    The 12-year-old boy told police he was awakened by a noise. He said they heard a knock on the door and when Dominguez opened the door slightly, Cervantes and Finley forced their way in the door with Antonio Hernandez, who was bound with duct tape. The alleged assailants asked for drugs, and “when the victims denied having any drugs, they shot the four victims before leaving,” according to court documents.
    One of the witnesses ran to a neighbor’s house and called 911.
    When police arrived, they found Dominguez and Antonio Hernandez dead. Dominguez had a gunshot wound to the head and back and Hernandez was shot once in the back of the head. Maria Hernandez and the boy were not yet dead and were taken to a hospital, where Maria Hernandez later died.
    The boy was later interviewed by police at the hospital but was unable to speak because of his injuries so he wrote on a tablet of paper. Police say he confirmed that two males shot him and the other three victims and that one had “an Uzi style gun.”
    Court documents say that persons interviewed by the police say that Cervantes planned to rob “his step-dad” (Dominguez) and that he had done so before and take “$30,000 and 3 pounds of ice.” One male witness said Cervantes told Finley this in his presence.
    Page 2 of 2 - Turner would not confirm that the motive was drug-related.
    “We know that there was drug activity, but at this time we’re trying to determine all factors that would relate to why the individuals came,” Turner said. “Again it was an isolated incident. We know that they probably had particular reason, but until our investigation can continue to determine all those reasons we’re going to have told hold off making statements in regards as to why.”
    Turner also wanted to assure the public that it was an isolated incident.
    “There’s no known threat to anyone (else) in the community at this time,” he said.
    Peters Baker praised the work done by Independence police detectives.
    “Many of them have had no rest and sleep so we could be here at this point tonight,” Peters Baker said. “This has been really good police work to get us to this point so quickly.”
     
     

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