MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Mo. -- While friends and family mourn the victims of Pablo Serrano-Vitorino’s alleged killing spree, prosecutors are now picking up the pace with the investigation.
The suspect appeared before a judge in Montgomery County Wednesday afternoon for his first hearing since his arrest. The judge did not allow camera in the courtroom or on that floor.
Serrano-Vitorino was dressed in an orange jail uniform, with chains around his feet and waist. The judge spoke to him through a translator on speaker phone.
She told him he’s facing three felonies in Missouri: murder in the first degree, armed criminal action, and burglary. The judge appointed the suspect a public defender, who had no comment on the case. Neither did the prosecutor, who suggested they have the probable cause hearing April 28.
The judge did not set a bond for Serrano-Vitorino. He could stay in custody until his April 28 hearing, or he could get extradited back to Wyandotte County for the four murder charges he faces in Kansas. A Missouri Highway Patrol trooper explained, it’s up to both counties to work together to decide who will pay for the suspect's food and housing and where he’ll go to trial first.
Major Matthew Schoo is the Chief Deputy with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, or the Sheriff’s right-hand man. He described Montgomery County, Missouri: “This is 540-square foot county, population about 13,000 people. Most of the people here know each other, or if they don’t know that person, they know the neighbor that knows that person. A lot of farmers and people that travel to work. It’s a fairly quiet community with a lot of great people.”
People were deeply disturbed to learn this week’s massive manhunt for a killer ended in their small town, with the loss of one of their own. Schoo said it’s personal.
“It could’ve been my family that was involved in this. It’s not just personal to me, it’s personal to the people who live here. It’s a neighbor, it’s a friend,” he said.
Forty-year-old Serrano-Vitorino is charged with killing 49-year-old Randy Nordman.
“What did they say? He’s a good person, he was a quiet guy, a nice guy, a guy who rode his motorcycle, so he was known in the community,” Schoo continued.
As friends and family in the area mourn Norman’s death, so do those who knew Serrano-Vitorino’s other victims, four men shot in Kansas, according to the charges.
Schoo said, “So anytime something like this happens it’s a sad event and people get nervous and they want things to happen.”
What happens now is a focus on the suspect’s fate and how the criminal justice system moves the case forward.
“It’s a multi-jurisdictional, multi-state case, and now it’s just, it’s really just beginning for everybody now that he’s in custody, all the process starts,” Schoo said.