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Two more charged in Independence triple homicide

Jackson County authorities charged two more persons Thursday for their alleged role in a triple homicide last week in Independence.

Raul Soto, 22, of Kansas City, Kan., and Bobbie Jo Phillips, 37, of Independence, were each charged with three counts of first-degree murder, first-degree assault, first-degree burglary and multiple counts of armed criminal action.

On Wednesday, two other men were charged in what authorities said was a home invasion for drugs and money that turned deadly. Antonio Cervantes III, 32, and Kevin M. Finley, 33, were each charged with three counts of first-degree murder, multiple counts of armed criminal action, assault and burglary.

Authorities said Soto and Phillips accompanied Cervantes and Finley during the robbery at 1505 S. Pope Ave. Phillips allegedly drove the vehicle used in the slaying.

The victims were identified as Maria Hernandez, 48; her son, Antonio Hernandez, 20; and Tomas Dominguez, age unknown.

A 12-year-old boy is recovering in a hospital after being shot in the face and chest. Police said several other children who were in the house were unharmed and are now in a safe location.

According to court records, officers were sent to the residence to investigate shots fired. They found a man in a detached garage coming at them with his hands and mouth bound with duct tape.

Inside the house police discovered the two dead men on the living room floor. Antonio Hernandez’s hands were duct-taped behind him and there was tape over his mouth. He had been shot once in the back of the head. Dominguez had been shot in the head and back.

Police also found a wounded Maria Hernandez, who was taken to a hospital, where she died.

The man in the garage said he and Antonio Hernandez were in the garage drinking when three men burst in and attacked and bound them. The attackers demanded drugs and threatened to kill the whole family. The witness said the men took Hernandez into the house, and then the witness heard shots.

A witness inside the house said two men came in with Hernandez and demanded drugs before the four victims were shot.

The man in the garage said the intruders took his cell phone. Police traced it to an address in Kansas City, which led them to another witness who told them that Cervantes had spoken openly of robbing relatives in Independence. He reportedly said he had robbed Dominguez, his stepfather, before and gotten away with $30,000 and three pounds of methamphetamine.

Cervantes, court documents state, asked to talk with a detective after his arrest and was interviewed Wednesday night. Cervantes told of plotting the robbery, casing the house and stopping on the way to the attack to buy duct tape and gloves. But Cervantes said, according to the court filing, that he was standing away from the others outside the house when he saw a police car cruising nearby, and that he “panicked and decided he did not want to stay or be a part of the robbery.”

He claimed he peeled off a mask he was wearing and fled, saying he only learned of the murders later through newscasts.

All of the defendants are being held in the Jackson County Detention Center without bond.