by Ivan Foley
In a case that court documents indicate may have been drug-related, a Kansas City, Kan. man has been charged with the Nov. 1 murder of Francisco Vargas III, 27, of Platte County.
Prosecutors say Zakary F. Mergy, 27, is accused of “acting alone or with others” in shooting Vargas to death at Vargas' house on Twin Springs Road.
Twin Springs Road is located just north of Parkville along Hwy. 9, not far from the Interstate 29 and 72nd St. exit.
In court documents filed along with the charges, it is revealed that in initial interviews with police, the victim’s girlfriend and family indicated the victim “was selling illegal drugs, primarily marijuana.”
Court papers also say that in those initial interviews, the girlfriend and family members told authorities the victim “did not trust many people to be in his home and did not talk to his family about his drug dealings.”
Platte County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd said charges were filed last week following an investigation by the Platte County Sheriff's Department.
According to court documents, on Nov. 1, a family member of Vargas found him lying face down on the floor of his residence in a large pool of blood.
Platte County Sheriff's Department deputies later determined Vargas had been shot several times.
A neighbor reported seeing a gray vehicle at Vargas' residence on the day he was shot. Investigators later determined that a 2008 gray Dodge Charger reportedly seen at the house was registered to a relative of Mergy.
Court documents indicate Mergy was interviewed on multiple occasions regarding Vargas' death. Mergy allegedly admitted he knew Vargas was killed with a Springfield .40 caliber XDM handgun. Mergy allegedly told investigators that he was given the gun by someone following the murder and that he wrapped the gun in several plastic bags before burying it in his mother's back yard.
Investigators recovered a Springfield .40 caliber XDM handgun from Mergy's mother's back yard. Court documents indicate that the Kansas City Regional Crime Lab determined the cartridge cases and bullets recovered at the crime scene were from that gun. DNA test results on the gun, trigger and magazine showed Mergy as the major contributor.
During the execution of a search warrant at Mergy's residence, investigators found a jar that a witness said he had seen at Vargas' residence two days before Vargas' murder.
Mergy was arrested in Kansas City, Kansas and is being held on a $500,000 cash bond.
He is charged with second degree murder and armed criminal action. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison.
The case is being investigated by the Platte County Sheriff's Department, with the assistance of the Kansas City Regional Crime Laboratory.
It is being prosecuted by Zahnd and assistant prosecuting attorneys Mark Gibson and Joe Vanover.