A quiet, densely wooded area off Goodlette-Frank Road bordering the Gordon River in Naples might have become the scene of a revenge killing last summer.
It was there that Xavier Sierra, 18, was lured, confronted and shot by Connie Serbu on July 7, 2016, in a plot to avenge her daughter’s rape, according to a criminal complaint filed with the Collier County Clerk of Courts this week.
Serbu, an acquaintance of Sierra’s, was already at the Naples Jail Center on suspicion of custodial interference when she was served with an arrest warrant Aug. 25 on a charge of second-degree murder.
Serbu is accused of leaving the state with her son last October while being investigated as a witness in the homicide, according to court records. She is being held without bail.
Serbu’s brother, John Vargas, 29, was also killed in the shooting.
The criminal complaint details the day the Naples Police Department responded to the 700 block of Goodlette-Frank Road to reports of shots fired.
At the end of a dirt road near the wooded area, officers found a blue four-door Hyundai and met Serbu, who appeared panicked and said two men she knew had been shot. Officers took her to the police station to calm her and get more information.
Serbu told investigators “it’s all my fault” and said she didn’t want her brother to get in trouble, the complaint states.
She asked police to book her and said, “So I don’t care, he raped my daughter … she told me everything that happened,” according to the complaint.
During the investigation, detectives found that Serbu sent Sierra a text message July 7, 2016, to ask for his help building a bunk bed at her house in exchange for money, the complaint states.
“Connie Serbu stated that she planned on confronting Xavier Sierra regarding the molestation of her daughter” the day she asked him to install the bunk beds, the complaint states.
Serbu’s daughter told her mother over Memorial Day weekend 2016 that Sierra sexually assaulted her on two occasions several years ago, according to police.
After learning about the alleged assault, Serbu repeatedly talked to friends and other witnesses about wanting to kill Sierra, court records state. Serbu’s daughter asked her mother not to hurt Sierra, and a friend of Serbu’s tried to persuade her to go to police instead of taking things into her own hands, according to police.
Serbu, a mother of two, told her husband in May that he would have to prepare himself to take care of their kids on his own because “she was going to do something,” the complaint states.
Serbu originally planned to ask a friend to install the bunk beds but changed her mind when her daughter told her she had been assaulted, according to police. The complaint states that getting the teen to do the job provided Serbu “the perfect ruse to get Sierra alone.”
Serbu had her brother accompany her to pick up the teen and confront him, court documents state. Vargas, of New York, had spent a few weeks visiting Serbu and staying at her house before he died.
According to the complaint, Vargas was intellectually disabled and because he “had a mind like a child,” Serbu persuaded him to help her.
Investigators said Vargas and Serbu left her house with two guns registered to Serbu, two stun guns, a potato to use as a silencer, an ice pick, plastic gloves, bags and paper towels before picking Sierra up.
Sierra had a job interview at a spay-and-neuter clinic in Golden Gate the day he was killed. After leaving the interview, he waited for Serbu to pick him up at a Winn-Dixie on Golden Gate Parkway and take him to her house to install the bunk beds.
According to the complaint, Vargas asked Sierra about the assault while Serbu drove them to the wooded area. When they arrived, Sierra got out of the car and tried to run away, but Vargas and Serbu chased him, according to the complaint.
Police said Sierra wrestled with Vargas for one of the guns, and Sierra ultimately was shot with both guns a total of six times. Vargas was shot once in the abdomen, according to police.
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