June 17, 2014

Likely murder weapons found in suspect’s apartment, Fort Worth police say

Police seized almost 60 items from a Haltom City apartment, much of it allegedly stolen from the Fort Worth home where the three women were found slain June 3.

A gun and two knives — one bent and the other bloodstained with hair on it — seized from a Haltom City apartment are believed to have been the weapons used in slayings of three women inside their south Fort Worth home, police said.

Police seized the weapons — along with electronics, shoes, prescription narcotics and other items believed stolen from the victims’ home — during a June 4 search of an apartment rented by the mother of Cedric McGinnis’s two children, according to a search warrant affidavit and return obtained by the Star-Telegram Tuesday.

McGinnis, 22, remains in the Tarrant County Jail, charged with capital murder/multiple victims.

McGinnis has told police that his ex-girlfriend, 21-year-old April Serrano, had allowed him to sneak into her bedroom window so that the two could have sex.

He said he had planned to steal items from the house in the 500 block of West Felix Street once April Serrano fell asleep but that she woke up, catching him in the act and prompting him to kill her and her two relatives, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

McGinnis told detectives that he fatally shot April Serrano before turning the gun on her 35-year-old aunt, Kathy DeLeon, who had been asleep on the couch.

He told investigators that he then shot April Serrano’s 48-year-old mother, Cynthia Serrano, in the master bedroom before running out of ammunition. Because she was still alive, he said he then began stabbing the woman with a knife, finishing the slaying with a second knife after the first one bent.

Cynthia Serrano’s husband, James Serrano, discovered the three women’s bodies upon returning home on the morning of June 3 after working a night shift.

Stolen items found

Police had questioned McGinnis early June 4 after learning from one of April Serrano’s friends that the young woman had recently begun dating McGinnis again, despite her mother’s disapproval.

He initially told investigators that he had had sex with April Serrano but the family was alive when he left their home.

He was directing police toward the clothes had had been wearing while with April Serrano when investigators noticed two flat-screen televisions outside a closet door in the Bellagio apartment in the 4200 block of Northern Cross Boulevard where McGinnis claimed he lived with his wife. Relatives of the woman say she is not married to McGinnis but the mother of his two children.

The two flat-screen televisions were among items missing from the Serrano/DeLeon home.

McGinnis and his “wife” gave contradictory statements to police about where the televisions had come from, prompting investigators to ask to speak to McGinnis a second time, warrant affidavit states.

This time, McGinnis confessed to the slayings and told detectives that he put several items taken from the Felix home in the Haltom City apartment. Police executed a search warrant at the apartment that same day.

Among the almost 60 items seized were the two televisions, multiple pairs of Nike shoes, a laptop computer, a DVD player, an iPad, bottles of hydrocodone and Alprazolam, and more than $42 in coins, according to the search warrant return, written by homicide Detective E. Pate.

Homicide Sgt. Joe Loughman confirmed that investigators believe the Smith and Wesson .38 Special revolver seized from the apartment, along with a bloody knife found wrapped in a bandana and a bent kitchen knife, were the weapons used in the slayings.

‘She had no knowledge’

Although an arrest warrant affidavit indicated that McGinnis’ “wife” told detectives that McGinnis had mentioned his plans to rob April Serrano and her family two days before the slayings, the woman’s grandparents insisted Tuesday that the woman had no prior knowledge of McGinnis’ plans.

The grandparents said their granddaughter and McGinnis have two sons together but were never married. They said McGinnis stayed at their granddaughter’s apartment from time to time but did not live there.

“She was stunned by it, just overwhelmed for something like this to even happen,” the woman’s grandfather said. “She had no knowledge. She works. She’s got two kids and she’s raising her two kids. She’s never been in no trouble with police or anything else. She just happened to be with a guy that ended up in a big mess.”

After the search of her apartment by police, the grandparents say their granddaughter was evicted and now fears for the safety of herself and her two children. The Star-Telegram is not naming the woman because she has not been charged with a crime.

“She had no idea nobody she would ever know could do something like that,” the grandmother said. “Would you have a baby with somebody who you thought would do something like that?”

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