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Raul Castro (15) Sentenced to 33 Years to Life in 2009 CA Slaying of Alex Mercado (4) Faces LWOP
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Thread: Raul Castro (15) Sentenced to 33 Years to Life in 2009 CA Slaying of Alex Mercado (4) Faces LWOP

  1. #1
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
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    Oct 2010

    Raul Castro (15) Sentenced to 33 Years to Life in 2009 CA Slaying of Alex Mercado (4) Faces LWOP

    A 15-year-old Mendota boy accused of killing neighbor has waived his right to a jury trial.

    Raul Castro is charged with the death of 4-year-old Alex Mercado, whose body was found inside the clothes dryer at Castro’s house.

    Deputies say Castro molested the child and then drowned him in the bathtub when he threatened to tell on him.

    Castro was 14 at time of the killing in November of 2009 so is not eligible for the death penalty but faces the possibility of life in prison.

    Because of Castro’s decision, a judge will now determine his fate when he goes to court next week.


  2. #2
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    Oct 2010
    Prosecution Rests in Teen's Murder Trial

    The prosecutions wrapped up testimony on Tuesday in the murder case against Raul Castro.

    Castro was 14-years-old when he allegedly molested and killed 4-year-old Alex Mercado, whose body was later found stuffed inside a clothes dryer.

    Castro waived his right to a jury trial so the judge will make the final ruling after the case wraps up.

    The defense will begin presenting its case on Wednesday.

    Castro, who is now 15-years-old, is being tried as an adult. If convicted, he is not eligible for the death penalty but does face the possibility of life in prison.


  3. #3
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
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    Oct 2010
    Closing Arguments Made in Mendota Murder Trial

    A verdict could be announced as early as Friday morning in the murder trial of Raul Castro.

    Castro is accused of sexually assaulting his 4-year-old neighbor, Alex Mercado, back in October 2009 then drowning him in a bathtub. Mercado's body was later found in a clothes dryer.

    Both sides presented their closing arguments in court on Thursday morning.

    Castro's defense attorney, Barbara O'Neill, reaffirmed her defense that her client was mentally ill at the time of Mercado's death.

    "This was not planned. He didn't have a state of mind to kidnap, sodomize, kill or do anything else to that little boy," said O'Neill.

    Castro admitted to investigators in a taped interview played in court this week that he drowned Mercado after having sexual contact with him. Castro's mother was running errands at the time, Castro said during the interview.

    O'Neill believes stresses in Castro's life caused him to snap. Castro was bullied in school and told that he was sexually assaulted at a young age, O'Neill said.

    But prosecutors don't buy the testimony made by psychiatrist Dr. Avak Howsepian this week that Castro is bipolar and suffered from a disorder at the time of Mercado's death that may have caused him to lose control of his thoughts or actions.

    "In the end, I think we're just left with a bunch of psycho babble that doesn't lead to much of anything in this case," said prosecutor Robert Romanacce.

    After court on Thursday, Mercado's family visited Alex's gravesite in Southwest Fresno. Surrounded by flowers, his mother Mindy leaned down to kiss his picture.

    Judge Conklin says if he needs more time to reach a decision, he will announce that on Friday morning.

    If convicted, Castro could face a maximum penalty of life in prison.


  4. #4
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
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    Oct 2010
    15-year-old Raul Castro sentenced to 33-years-to-life

    Mendota teenager Raul Castro was sentenced to 33-years-to-life for the rape and murder of 4-year-old Alex Mercado.

    In April, a judge convicted 15 year old Raul Castro for the 2009 murder and sexual assault of Alex Mercado. The boy's body was found inside a clothes dryer after a long search for the missing child.

    Raul Castro showed no emotion while several members of the victim's family cried as they spoke about their heartache.

    Alex's mother says even happy moments aren't the same since her son was murdered and left cold and lifeless in a dryer. "I hug his clothes, i smell his shoes, and i hold his little toys. Then I do know that there are no words to describe the longing I feel for my precious little child."

    Mindy Betancourt Mercado says on many days she struggles to even get up. "I have spent countless nights that I lay in bed and shed my tears for him. I will never be the person I was before. I find it hard at times to enjoy life like I used to only now I wear a smile of disguise."

    Ten days before his murder, Alex wrote his name for the first time and made a self-portrait, complete with spiked hair. Alex's teenage brother told the court Alex loved to horse around and play games.

    "He is the brightest boy who loved everybody," said James Betancourt. "We used to wrestle in my bedroom and I can remember him telling me that he wanted big muscles like mine."

    Outside court, Castro's mother says she feels sympathy for Alex's family, but she too is devastated.

    "I do feel for the family because their son's not coming home ever," said Elsa Castro. "He was a special kid. Their son is special and so is mine. And i don't have any regrets of anything. But i do have a broken heart for them, because i do have a feeling for them."

    Alex's mother had harsh words for the boy who ended her son's life. She called him a monster and took note of his lack of remorse. "As for Raul, I didn't need to see him cry or even shed a tear during the trial. He will have to live with what he did. His mother will have to carry the guilt of knowing she could have prevented all this had she rewarded him differently."

    Alex's brother, James said, "If i could have one more day with Alex, i would make it the best day of his life. It is sometimes too hard to say goodbye."

    The judge said that if the words of family members haven't hit Castro, then maybe his words would not, either. But he warned him some day the impact of what he has done will dawn on him.

    After his lengthy sentence, when Castro is released, he will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.


    Teen Guilty of First Degree Murder

    A Fresno County Judge found Raul Castro guilty of first degree murder.

    15-year-old Raul Castro was accused of sexually molesting 4-year-old Alex Mercado in October of 2009 and then drowning him in a bathtub to keep him from telling. Investigators later found Mercado’s body in the clothes dryer in Castro’s home.

    Castro was also found guilty of the charge of sodomy but was found not guilty on the charge of kidnapping.

    The verdict was read just after 9:00 a.m. Friday morning.

    Steve McCarron is in the courtroom and will have full updates on the CBS47 News at Noon.

    Because of his age, Raul Castro is not eligible for the death penalty but does face the possibility of life in prison.

    Sentencing is scheduled for June 24th.


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