- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 20, 2016

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A hearing for a Mexican national accused of killing a man in Missouri and four people in Kansas was postponed Wednesday amid prosecutors’ plans to seek the death penalty in the Missouri case.

A Montgomery County judge delayed Pablo Serrano-Vitorino’s preliminary hearing from April 28 to May 12 at the request of Serrano’s attorneys, court records show. Prosecutors didn’t oppose the delay.

The defense motion cited conversations with a state assistant attorney general “indicating their intention to seek the death penalty” related to the March 8 death of Randy Nordman at his home near New Florence, about 70 miles west of St. Louis.

State and local prosecutors did not return messages left Tuesday and Wednesday by The Associated Press.

Donald Catlett, a Columbia-based public defender specializing in death-penalty cases, confirmed on Wednesday that his office is representing 40-year-old Serrano, but he declined to comment otherwise.

Serrano, who remains jailed in Missouri without bond, also is accused of killing a Kansas City, Kansas, neighbor and three other men at the neighbor’s house the night before Nordman was slain.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has said Serrano would be tried first in Missouri. The top prosecutor in Kansas’ Wyandotte County has said that as long as Missouri prosecutors actively pursue charges against Serrano, they have a right to keep him.

Authorities have not discussed a motive for any of the killings.

Serrano is in the country illegally, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said. He was deported in April 2004 and illegally re-entered the country sometime later.

Catlett wrote in his request for a continuance of the Missouri preliminary hearing that the defense team also needed additional time to arrange for an interpreter to consult with Serrano.

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