As he got older, Vargas told them, McNeill bribed him with drugs and alcohol. He also said McNeill employed Vargas at his business, doing odd jobs such as delivering appliances as a way to keep him close. And, Vargas told his family, he wasn't the only one; there were many other young men who were trapped in McNeill's web of alleged abuse.
"[McNeill] was very manipulative, he was very apparently kind," said Tom Hudson, Vargas' defense attorney. "He used his business and his ability to employ these young boys for cash under the table as a manipulating tool. He used his home as a place for these kids to come to and get away from mom and dad who, so that they could do things that their mom and dad and society would never allow, you know, take drugs, drink alcohol, party, those kinds of things, and do sexual favors."
But Vargas' family said his visit at the McNeill home that fateful night was about more than anger and rage. They say it was about stopping the cycle of alleged abuse before it ensnared anyone else.
In the months prior to the shooting, the family said, Vargas claimed McNeill had been stalking him, calling him up to 30 times a day, even offering to babysit for his baby girl. The Vargas family said that all of it, on top of years of abuse, sent Vargas over the edge.
"What Darrell lived to do is to rape these kids," Vargas' sister, Mindy Galliani, said. "And Aaron knew it. Aaron has spent the last 20 years around Darrell and he knows exactly how Darrell works and he knows what a threat he is. And Aaron knew what was going through Darrell's mind when he watched Darrell look at his daughter."
But authorities say they believe this is a clear case of pre-meditated murder and that Vargas should face the consequences of his actions.
"We think that we've collected evidence, whether it be physical or oral statements, that leads us to believe that this was a premeditated murder of another human being," Sgt. Van Patten said. "We don't feel that it is right for Aaron Vargas to have come to the decision that, he is the judge, the jury, and the executioner, when it comes to Darrell McNeill."