The jury trial for a Kansas City, Kan. man linked to a 2015 murder in Platte County has been set for September of this year.
Last week, Zak Mergy was arraigned on the charges in Platte County Circuit Court with a plea of not guilty entered. He faces charges of first-degree murder and armed criminal action. Punishment could range up to life in prison.
Mergy’s trial is now set to begin Monday, Sept. 11 with Judge Thomas Fincham presiding.
Authorities arrested Mergy in late December of 2014 and charged him in connection with the shooting death of 27-year-old Francisco Vargas, who was found dead in his residence near Parkville, Mo. on Nov. 1. Vargas’ girlfriend located his body in the kitchen of his home on NW Twin Springs Road.
Authorities quickly identified a person or persons of interest, but no charges were filed for more than a month.
According to a probable cause statement, Mergy gave various convoluted stories during repeated interviews with authorities in an attempt to provide an alibi. The girlfriend spoke with Vargas at about 6:21 p.m. the day he died while en route to his house. He didn’t respond to a text message sent 16 minutes later, and she arrived moments later with her two young daughters.
The girlfriend set food she had purchased inside the house and returned to her car, and her older daughter came outside and told her, “Daddy needs help.” They left the residence and came back with other family members, who determined Vargas had been shot several times.
Mergy, listed at 6-foot-6, 320 pounds in a previous booking report, and another man, who has not been charged in connection with the crime, were found to have been in the area around the time of the crime being committed. Mergy also gave details about the crime known only to investigators, according to court documents.
During the execution of a search warrant at Mergy’s residence, investigators found a jar reportedly used to hold marijuana that a witness said he had seen at Vargas’ residence two days before the homicide. Family members admitted to investigators that Vargas often sold illegal narcotics, specifically marijuana.
Investigators also located a handgun belonging to Mergy wrapped in several plastic bags, found with an inserted magazine containing live rounds, buried in his mother’s backyard, according to court documents.