Las Vegas Sun

October 20, 2017

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Police look for clues in death of intended witness

Ismael Vargas was supposed to be sentenced Monday for a fatal fight that began over a litter of puppies.

He never got the chance.

Vargas was gunned down outside his house on Oct. 23. His killer or killers are still free.

According to police, Vargas and his cousins, Eliodora Cabrera Jr., 20, and Adam Aguilar, 22, shot Deangelo Jackson, 20, to death in July 1999. The men had agreed to split a litter of six pit bull puppies, but three died and no one could agree how to split up the remaining dogs, police allege.

Vargas pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact to a felony in May and agreed to testify against his cousins during their trial.

He died on what was supposed to be the first day of the trial. The trial was taken off the calendar after the cousins entered last-minute plea agreements.

Cabrera pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact to a felony on Oct. 19 and Aguilar, during an unscheduled hearing, entered a deal on Oct. 20.

The timing of Vargas' death has raised the eyebrows of the North Las Vegas Police.

"We're following up on some leads and we are continuing to conduct interviews," Detective James Jackson said. "We believe his death could be related to the other case, but at the same time, it could be completely random. We're keeping all of our options open."

Vargas was gunned down in the driveway of his Simmons Street home about 9 p.m. Oct. 23, Jackson said. He had just pulled in and exited his vehicle.

Jackson said he believes someone probably knows what happened but is afraid to come forward or believes other witnesses will call the police.

"I've had cases in which the victim was killed right in public view and each of the witnesses thought someone else would call to report what they had seen, but ultimately no one did," Jackson said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Secret Witness at 385-5555 or North Las Vegas Police at 633-9111.

Aguilar will receive a 20- to 50-year sentence on Nov. 27. Cabrera could get probation or up to five years in prison when he is sentenced Dec. 11.