11 face federal charges in fatal home invasion

INDEPENDENCE (AP) — Eleven people have been charged in what prosecutors say was a drug-related home invasion that left three people dead and one wounded in suburban Kansas City.

Five of the people named in the federal grand jury indictment handed down Tuesday were already facing state charges in the Nov. 16 attack. According to the indictment, they planned to rob the people in the home of methamphetamine and cash.

Five others were charged with receiving and disposing of evidence, and the 11th person concealed what he knew about the conspiracy, the indictment said.

“Federal statutes are uniquely designed to target large-scale drug-trafficking conspiracies,” acting U.S. Attorney David Ketchmark said in a news release. “By bringing this case into federal court, we will mount a comprehensive prosecution of all of the defendants, bringing them to trial together under one charging document.”

The five who were originally charged in the case are Kevin Finley, 33, Antonio Cervantes III, 32, Bobbi Jo Phillips, 37, all of Independence; Raul Soto, 22, of Kansas City, Kan.; and Carlos Zambrano Jr., 27. Once they are transferred to federal custody, the state charges will be dismissed, Ketchmark said.

Along with conspiracy, Finley and Soto have been charged with using a firearm to kill Maria Hernandez, 48, her son, Antonio Hernandez, 20, and her boyfriend, Martin Dominguez-Gregorio, and wounding Maria Hernandez’s 12-year-old son, Miguel Hernandez.

At least two of the victims, including one whose hands were duct taped behind his back, were shot in the back of their heads, according to a probable cause statement filed with the state charges last month.

Police said in court documents that Cervantes, who was Dominguez’s stepson, had bragged to Finley that he once robbed Dominguez of $30,000 and “3 pounds of ice.”

A spokesman for Ketchmark’s office said it didn’t appear any of the defendants had obtained an attorney.

Electronic court records showed only Soto had obtained an attorney — a public defender — in the state case, but U.S. attorney’s spokesman Don Ledford said that person likely wouldn’t handle the federal case.

The state public defender didn’t immediately return a call from The Associated Press on Wednesday seeking comment.

Finley and Soto could face the death penalty if convicted of the killings, but that decision ultimately will be made U.S. Attorney Eric Holder’s office.

The conspiracy charge carries a maximum life sentence, while the concealing evidence charges have a maximum sentence of 15 years behind bars without parole.

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