Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Texas executes 'lovers' lane' killer Juan Castillo

The 11th Execution of 2018
After three canceled death dates in one year, lovers' lane killer Juan Castillo was executed on May 16, 2018 after years of protesting his innocence, reported the Houston Chronicle and the Marshall Project. He was the sixth man this year to meet his end in the Huntsville death chamber.
No one from his family was there to watch as he mumbled his final words.
"To everyone that has been there for me you know who you are," he said. "Love ya'll. See y'all on the other side. That's it."
As the drugs took hold, he struggled to lift his head and look down at his feet.
"I can taste this s---," he added. "S--- does burn."
He began breathing heavily, then stopped a minute later. He was pronounced dead at 6:44 p.m., 23 minutes after the execution began.
Castillo was convicted of killing 19-year-old rapper Tommy Garcia, Jr., in a December 2003 robbery on a San Antonio lovers' lane. He was sentenced to death in 2005.
One night, early in December of 2003, Castillo and his girlfriend teamed up with another couple to plan a robbery, according to court records. Their target — 19-year-old rapper Tommy Garcia, Jr. — counted among the former lovers of Castillo’s girlfriend, Debra Espinosa.
The plan was for Espinosa to lure Garcia to a secluded spot for drugs and sex, and then Castillo and his friend Francisco Gonzales would storm the car and rob their unwitting victim. Espinosa would play along, and Teresa Quintero, Gonzales’ girlfriend, would be the getaway driver.
But things didn’t go quite as planned. Garcia and Espinosa were making out in his 1994 Camaro when Castillo and Gonzales — wearing ski masks and toting guns — attacked. They tore Garcia from the car, and Castillo ended up shooting him seven times, according to court records.
Afterward, Gonzales and Espinosa were quickly arrested and agreed to testify against Castillo in exchange for a reduced charge. They both ended up with 40-year sentences, while Quintero was sentenced to 20 years for robbery.
Some of Garcia’s friends testified about the events surrounding the shooting: both the call from Espinosa beforehand asking to meet up and a frantic call afterward saying Garcia had been shot.
During the punishment phase of the trial, Castillo decided to represent himself, and he never cross-examined anyone who testified against him and extensively outlined evidence of his future dangerousness. Witnesses told the court that Castillo brutally beat the mother of his child, shot a man in a road rage incident, committed a slew of armed street robberies and boasted about home invasions, stabbings, and killings.
In the appeals process, Castillo argued he had had ineffective trial counsel. He also claimed that the death penalty is unconstitutionally cruel and that the evidence had not been strong enough to convict.
He was scheduled for execution in May 2017, but it was stayed after prosecutors failed to file a 90-day notice to the defense. His next execution date, in September 2017, was called off in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
Then his December execution date was cancelled and the case sent back to the trial court after the defense raised claims of false testimony from a jailhouse snitch who later recanted.
The case went back to the trial court, but there a judge signed off on the state's recommended findings three days later, before the defense could submit its findings. 
The court then approved a new execution date, Castillo's fourth in just under a year.
To read more CLICK HERE

No comments:

Post a Comment