On the 7th of July, 2016, police in Naples, Florida, responded to shots fired in a wooded area near the 700 block of Goodlette Road North. While searching the area, they discovered two deceased men. They had both been shot dead. They were identified as 18-year-old Xavier Sierra and John Vargas.
Initially, police believed that the men had quite simply shot one another but they soon came to discover that this wasn’t the case.
At the scene when police arrived was Connie Serbu, the sister of Vargas. She was the one who reported the shots fired. She informed police of her relationship with Vargas and said that Sierra was an acquaintance. She said that she was sitting in the car when the shooting took place and had no idea what had happened.
When police spoke with Serbu, they noticed that she was unnaturally on edge and even blurted out: “It’s all my fault!” Furthermore, gunshot residue testing revealed that Serbu’s hands tested positive for residue, indicating that she had recently fired a gun.1
Police soon discovered that this case was much more complex that initially believed.
Sierra’s grandmother informed police that shortly before his murder, Serbu had come to his house and asked him if he wanted to make an extra bit of cash by helping her build some furniture. Marisol Sierra said that she found this to be quite strange considering the fact that Sierra and Serbu had fallen out years prior and hadn’t seen each other or spoken to each other since.2
With the evidence against her piling up, Serbu confessed that she had killed Sierra and that the murder was revenge: “So I don’t care, he raped my daughter, I don’t care, he sodomized my daughter… she told me everything that happened,” she explained”3
Serbo confessed that she and Vargas had picked Sierra up at his home. In the car, the siblings had two guns, two stun guns, a potato to use as a silencer, an ice pick, plastic gloves, bags and paper towels. They were driving him to a wooded area and en route, Serbu began questioning Sierra about the assault on her daughter.
Sierra, seemingly realizing that he was in grave danger, attempted to flee from the car when it stopped. Vargas tackled Sierra to the ground and they started wrestling over one of the guns, during which Vargas was shot once in the stomach. Serbo then opened fire with the second gun, shooting Sierra six times and killing him.
An investigation uncovered that it was Memorial Day weekend the year prior that Serbu’s daughter confided in her mother that Sierra had been molesting her. After the revelation, Serbu told several of her friends and said she wanted to kill Sierra for what he had done. She even told her husband that “she was going to do something” and that he would have to take care of their two children without her.
She was charged with second-degree murder and her trial was slated for October of 2019.
During her opening statement, State attorney Nicole Mira said that Serbu was motivated solely by the fact that Sierra had molested her daughter. Mira revealed to the court room that Serbu’s daughter had also confessed to her babysitter that Sierra had molested her when she was around 5-years-old.
During the trial, it came out that Vargas was intellectually disabled and because he “had a mind like a child,” Serbu easily persuaded him to help her with the attack. It was also revealed that the siblings had purchased a separate phone for exclusive communication with Sierra.
On the evening of the murder, Serbu and Vargas left her home wearing dark clothing with hats and their shoe soles covered in duct tape. They had picked Sierra up at a Winn Dixie near his home and headed towards the wooded area where he would die.4
After one week of testimony, Serbu was found guilty of second-degree murder. She is currently awaiting sentencing but faces up to life in prison.
- International Business Times, 1 September, 2017 – “Florida Mother Shoots Dead Teenager After Being Told He Raped Her Daughter”
- Naples Daily News, 11 October, 2019 – “Opening Statements Begin for Woman Accused of Second-Degree Murder in 2016”
- The Daily Mirror, 1 September, 2017 – “Mum Who Murdered Teenage Boy Claims It Was Revenge”
- Naples Daily News, 10 October, 2019 – “Trial for Woman Accused of Killing One of Two Men Shot in Naples”