Two charged in Independence triple homicide

Two Jackson County men are charged with first-degree murder in what officials describe as a home invasion for drugs and money that turned into a triple killing at an Independence residence early Friday morning.

Antonio Cervantes III, 32, and Kevin M. Finley, 33, are being held without bond while investigators pursue a third suspect in what they said Wednesday was still “a very fluid case.”

The men are each charged with three counts of first-degree murder, multiple counts of armed criminal action, assault and burglary in connection with the attack on the family at 1505 S. Pope Ave.

Court documents describe a chilling scene in which one of the victims was bound with duct tape and executed.

The dead included a woman, her adult son and another man. Another son, 12 years old, was shot in the face and chest. He remains in a hospital and is expected to recover. Several other children who were in the house were unharmed and are now in a safe location, police said.

Those killed were Maria Hernandez, 48; her son Antonio Hernandez, 20; and Tomas Dominguez, age unknown.

When police arrived on a report of shots fired, they discovered a man in a detached garage coming at them with duct tape on his hands and mouth. Inside the house police found the two dead men on the living room floor.

Hernandez’s hands were duct-taped behind him and there was duct 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 discovered a wounded Maria Hernandez, who was taken to a hospital where she died of gunshot wounds.

All the shells recovered by police in the residence were 9mm.

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

Another witness inside the house told police he heard a knock at the door and when Dominguez opened it two men burst in with Hernandez.

The invaders again asked for drugs and when the victims denied having any, all four victims were shot, the witness said.

The injured boy was unable to talk to investigators but wrote on a tablet that two men shot them all and then left. He said one of the men had an Uzi-style gun.

The man in the garage said the invaders took his cellphone. Police were able to trace it to an address in Kansas City, which led them to other 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 ice,” a type of methamphetamine.

A witness told police Cervantes was trying to convince others to join him in what he said would be an “in and out” job.

Cervantes and Finley are expected to make their first court appearance on Monday.