Pablo Serrano-Vitorino, accused of killing five men in Kansas and Missouri this week, was hospitalized Thursday after attempting suicide in a mid-Missouri jail.
Authorities put him on suicide watch after his arrest early Wednesday. But they moved Serrano-Vitorino into the Montgomery County jail’s general population area later Wednesday, according to the Montgomery County sheriff’s office.
Thursday morning, jailers discovered that Serrano-Vitorino had cut himself with a straight-edge razor. He was taken to a hospital, where he was in stable condition under guard.
Jail officials declined to comment further on the incident.
Serrano-Vitorino is accused of fatally shooting Michael Capps, 41; Jeremy Waters, 36; and brothers Clint Harter, 27, and Austin Harter, 29, late Monday at Capps’ home in Kansas City, Kan. Serrano-Vitorino lived next door to Capps.
After fleeing Kansas, Serrano-Vitorino allegedly killed Randy J. Nordman, 49, Tuesday morning outside Nordman’s home in New Florence, Mo.
Authorities captured him early Wednesday in a ditch near Interstate 70 after a more than 16-hour manhunt involving dozens of law enforcement officers, K-9 teams and two police helicopters.
Serrano-Vitorino, who was in the country illegally after being deported more than a decade ago, faces five first-degree murder charges, four of them in Kansas.
Warned by yells from her husband that woke her, Julie Nordman hid in the attic of the couple’s home and called 911 as her husband struggled with the gunman. She credits her husband with saving her life.
“Randy was good man, (an) innocent person in all of this,” she said in a statement released Thursday. “He didn’t know this horrible coward. … He didn’t deserve this, his family didn’t deserve this.
“This horrible person has taken away a beloved good man.”
During the struggle, a magazine came dislodged from the rifle and fell to the ground, she said.
“Randy was shot with the only bullet left in the chamber of the gun,” her statement said. “This struggle and losing the ammunition … saved countless other lives and the man ran away with an empty unloaded weapon.”
She criticized federal immigration authorities for what she called a “clerical” error that let Serrano-Vitorino stay in the country last year after an arrest in Wyandotte County for domestic violence.
“Who made this mistake?” she asked. “If this mistake had not been made … would this tragedy have occurred?
“We want answers.”
On Thursday, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster announced that his office will assist Montgomery County prosecutor Nathan Carroz with the murder, burglary and armed criminal prosecution of Serrano-Vitorino in that county.
Serrano-Vitorino, who is being held without bond, will face trial first in Missouri, Koster said in a statement.
“This is an unimaginable tragedy for the family and friends of Randy Nordman and the four men murdered in Kansas City, Kansas,” Koster’s statement said. “My office will work tirelessly to bring justice for Mr. Nordman.”
Koster’s office reached out to Carroz early Wednesday to discuss legal strategy.
The rifle magazine that investigators recovered at the Nordman home contained the same type of ammunition used in the Kansas City, Kan., slayings, according to court documents. When arrested, Serrano-Vitorino was carrying a long rifle that matched the description of the weapon used in all five killings.
Last year after Serrano-Vitorino was arrested on domestic battery charges in Kansas City, Kan., the county notified federal immigration officials that he was being detained. Federal agents were unable to interview him before his release hours later.
“It’s a tragic and senseless crime that has forever created a hole in our hearts and our lives will never be the same,” Julie Nordman said. “We may never heal from this.”
The Nordman family set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to help Julie Nordman with expenses and to complete construction of a remote-control-car racing track called Empire of Dirt that her husband had been building in mid-Missouri.
In Kansas, a GoFundMe page has been set up to help Sandy Harter, the mother of Clint and Austin Harter, bury her sons.