KANSAS CITY, KS. - The father of one of the five people allegedly killed by Pablo Serrano-Vitorino is suing federal immigration authorities.
ABC 17 previously reported that Serrano was a Mexican national who was in the country illegally.
The lawsuit was filed Monday in Kansas City, Kansas' federal court by the father of Austin Harter. It claims Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents had two chances to detain and deport Serrano before March 2016.
The lawsuit also claims that ICE did not follow proper procedures, allowing Serrano to be released from jail twice before March 2016.
Serrano is charged with five counts of first-degree murder in the deaths. Prosecutors in Missouri are pursuing the death penalty against him for allegedly killing Randy Nordman in Montgomery County.
Serrano was first deported by the federal government in 2003 after pointing a gun at the mother of his three children in southern California. At some point, according to the lawsuit, Serrano re-entered the country, getting arrested in 2014 by law enforcement in Kansas. Police made contact at least three times with Serrano from 2014 to 2016 on a variety of charges, but ICE agents never made contact with him to deport him again, according to the lawsuit.
Federal authorities sent a request to hold Serrano in 2015 when Overland Park police arrested him on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, the lawsuit said. However, ICE faxed the request to the wrong department, allowing Serrano to leave the police department.
The lawsuit filed by Harter's father is similar to one submitted in July by the Nordmans and other victims in Kansas in July 2017. Jill Harper, a Columbia-based attorney representing the Nordman family, told ABC 17 News that they plan on merging the new lawsuit with theirs. A federal judge has yet to rule on the federal government's request to dismiss that lawsuit.
Serrano's criminal case in Missouri is set for a month-long trial in October to take place in St. Louis. ABC 17 News previously reported that a judge ordered the state to pay for some of Serrano's defense work.