Another lawsuit filed against ICE in case of illegal immigrant accused of killing five men
JEFFERSON CITY —
A second lawsuit has been filed against U.S. immigration officials, claiming a federal agency negligently allowed an illegal immigrant to remain in the country before he killed five people.
The father of one of the victims recently filed the newest suit in Kansas City, Kansas.
The suit claims immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents had two chances to detain and deport 42-year-old Pablo Serrano-Vitorino before March 2016, when he killed four men in Kansas City, Kansas and later killed a man in Montgomery County.
A similar lawsuit was filed by the wives of two victims in the summer of 2017. The wife of 27-year-old Clint Harter and wife of 49-year-old Randy Nordman filed a joint complaint against the federal government for its "failure to perform mandatory duties and/or for the unconstitutional an/or negligent acts and/or omissions of its officers, officials, agents of employees the resulted in the fatal shooting."
The joint complaint is being considered in Kansas federal court. Attorneys representing ICE in October requested the court to dismiss the case. A U.S. Attorney wrote "ICE's decisions related to whether and how to detain or remove Serrano-Vitorino from the U.S. falls within prosecutorial discretion," which is a discretion protected by federal law. A magistrate judge was still considering the request as of Tuesday, according to court records.
Court records show Serrano-Vitorino had a prior felony conviction in 2003 for which he was deported, but officials say at an unknown time, he reentered the country. In 2014, he was arrested after allegedly punching his brother in Wyandotte County. Jail officials notified ICE, but an agent was never sent to the jail, regardless of an ICE policy requiring a face-to-face interview, according to the lawsuit. In 2015, police stopped Serrano-Vitorino in Overland Park, Kansas. ICE sought to have him detained for the immigration violation, but sent the paperwork to the wrong law enforcement agency. "Once again, he was released due to ICE's failures and omissions to perform its duties," the lawsuit said.
The wives have asked for past and future medical, incidental and service expenses, court costs, and a judgement of at least $75,000. It was unclear Wednesday what damages the newest lawsuit seeks.
A spokeswoman for ICE said Tuesday the agency does not comment on pending litigation. The attorney representing Nordman's wife told KRCG13 she had no comment.
Serrano-Vitorino faces multiple charges in the killings. Missouri prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against him. His trial is scheduled to begin in October in St. Louis County.