|Contact Juan Mauricio Castillo|
|Juan Mauricio Castillo
paroled to immigration hold on July 25, 2016
|DOB: January 6, 1980 (in El Salvador)|
|Juan Mauricio Castillo's case data|
|Status||possibly not guilty|
|State and County||Nevada, Washoe County|
|Crime||One (1) count of murder|
|Date of Crime||August 13, 1995|
|Date of Arrest||August 27, 1995|
|Date of Conviction||June 24, 1996|
|Sentence||two (2) consecutive terms of life without the possibility of parole.|
|Age at the Date of Crime||15|
|Contributing Factors||Ineffectiveness of Counsel, Perjury, Misleading Forensic Evidence|
|Did DNA evidence contribute to the conviction?||No|
|Is there DNA evidence to test?||N/A|
On August 13, 1995, a 12-year-old girl by the name of Jessica Arenas was shot to death at the “Horseman Park” in Reno, Nevada, when two rival gangs clashed.
I (nick name “Little Boy”) left my house to go to the Neil Road Park (this was the park where most members from MS (Mara Salvatrucha) – a street gang – hung around with me being one of the members). I took bus number 7 (from Stead to Downtown Reno, Nevada) at approximately 3:00 pm.
Once in Downtown I was going to get on bus number 9, which passed by the Neil Road Park. As I was going to get on the bus, I saw my cousin. We greeted each other and I informed him of my going to the Neil Road Park, as I usually did on the weekends. (I did this not to get arisen any trouble, but because I wanted to fit in and be accepted by those I considered my peers. I also did it to meet girls and most importantly to find my own identity.)
Minutes after saluting my cousin I got on the bus number 9 and went to Neil Road Park. I arrived at the park some time after 4:00 pm. As I got out of the bus I saw a member from MS (the gang I belonged to).
He was putting things and/or accomodating thigns in the cab of his car to go somewhere. When he saw me getting off the bus, he called me to where he was. As I walked toward him, I looked around and saw no other friend or member(s) around. So, I figured that it was going to be a boring afternoon. Once I had approached the guy who had called me, he invited me to go with him to where he was going; a soccerball game. Once again I looked around in boredom and agreed to go with him.
I believe that we arrived at our destination (the Horseman’s Park) sometime after or around 5:00 pm. I had been in the flat-bed of the car with another member from MS who never really hanged around. There were other people sitting in the car with the driver that also got out of the car when we had arrived at the “Horseman Park”. In the soccerfield of this park the soccergame I had come to watch was about to take place. As I got out of the car I saw abot 8 or 9 other guys, whom I knew. Two of the guys I saw belonged to another gang, one that got along with MS. The rest of them were from MS.
At first everything appeared to be normal (tranquil). People were sitting on the sides of the field to observe the game. The players were preparing to play. As the game begun I together with a couple of other members from MS noticed a group of people that were gathering on the opposite right hand corner of the field. Then I heard someone say that they were members of the MVR (a rival gang) and that some of them were even playing in the game. I honestly didn’t think much of it, because I didn’t think that any violence would take place on that day.
Time went by. Then I together with a couple of other members from MS moved (walked) a few steps away from the bench (See bench on the Crime Scene Map) where my friend Michelle Peña had been taking pictures (See the 3 pictures on the left and the Affidavit of Michelle Peña). We stood approximately 4-5 meters (to our left) from the goal area. As we were standing there we noticed that the guys on the opposite right hand side of the field were signifying their gang signs with their hands (this is done to let a rival gang know the gang one claims as a form of challenge). Thus we started doing the same thing. On this day I was wearing a light-blue jeans and at this specific time I had a white tank-top (muscle shirt) on. Minutes after this took place we walked back to where we had been minutes earlier (by the bench). At this time I saw three (3) guys coming from the westside of the park (See 4 on the Crime Scene Map). As they got close to us, one of them uttered some disrespectful words to us. So, one of the MS members stated to walk toward the three guys (MVR members) with the intention of fighting with them, but I got in the middle of them to try to thwart them from fighting. I continued by telling the MS member to let it go, because there were people with babies around us.
Then I looked at the other guy (the MVR member) whom I knew from High School, as I was about to utter something to him, he lifted up his t-shirt to show us that he had a gun. In spite of this I still reported the same to him and was able thwart the situation from escalating any further. Minutes after this had taken place, I crossed the street (Skyline Blvd.) and went to where some of the MS members were conversing (this took place by the area of stop-2 (I-B) from the Crime Scene Map. See background of the picture which depicts some people hanging out across the street from where the picture was taken).
Then I went back to the bench area to watch more of the game. Sometime after this the first half of the game ended. At this time I saw a gray Impala driving by in a slow motion as if looking for an area to park. I knew who the driver was, but I could not tell who the girls that were in it were. The car was parked approximately 20-30 feet away from where we were. Once parked the Impala’s motor was not turned off, but instead the driver was reving its engine. Then I looked to where the other members of the rival gang were supposed to be and saw that about 30 or so of them were trotting in a fast pace while others were running toward the gray Impala (Please, see the Crime Scene Map page A-1 and pages A-2, A-3, and A-4 for my narration of the events that took place after the above).
My answer of how I got convicted of the crime I am serving time for is this:
- I was convicted because of my ignorance of the language (English), and zero knowledge, familiarity, and/or understanding of any of the criminal procedures.
- Inconclusive evidence yet allowed by the court.
- Testimonies based on pure confusion that were persuaded by the immense pretrial and trial publicity.
- The very poor and ineffective representation by the two court appointed public defenders.
- The lack of witnesses’ testimonies to support the truth of my innocence and/or any testimony that would have impeached the State’s witnesses’ false testimonies.
- False testimonies coupled with the DA’s assumptions and/or theories of what actually took place the day of the crime (8-13-1995).
- The lack of investigation needed to properly represent, argue, and defend my case from false accusations, confusions, and assumptions.
- The lack of experts’ testimonies in the defense’s part.
How you can help
Share this article and visit the IIPPI Forum for updates!
I need a ballistics expert. I need to investigate and clear up some assumptions that the D.A. made during trial that I know were far from the truth in regards to ballistics.
Besides my immediate couple of family members I rarely have anyone else. This is one of the results of being in prison for so many years. I continue to look for opened doors, help, someone to listen. The hope is always alive, the faith is always present.
Latest News: Juan Mauricio Castillo was paroled to immigration hold on July 25, 2016. Castillo is afraid of being deported, because as a former gang member, he would not feel safe in the country where he was born.
Trial Transcripts, June 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 24, 1996, Reno, Nevada
for the State: Daniel Greco, Esq., Deputy District Attorney, Reno, Nevada
for the Defense: Chester Kafchinski, Esq. and David Otto, Esq., Deputy Public Defenders, Reno, Nevada
Opening Arguments (pdf, page 79-93)
State’s Opening Argument: page 79-90
Defense’s Opening Argument: page 90-93
Witnesses for the State (pdf, page 94-405)
Falica Duran (94-116)
Mohammad Rafaquat (116-444)
Francisco Macias (141-227)
Elvis Majano (227-243)
Lori Enzenberger (243)
Ginger Welch (244-268)
Veronica Rodriguez (268-305)
Luis Chavarria (305-313)
Leanna Fielding (313-325)
Elizabeth Garcia (325-341)
Tonya Marlowe (341-354)
Ed Shipp (354-377)
David Atkinson (377-388)
Kevin Lattyak (388-401)
Maria Fassett (401-405)
Witnesses for the Defense (pdf, page 405-722)
Ellen Clark, M.D. (405-440)
Michael Tone (440-469)
David Phillip Jenkins (470-501)
Brandon Ritter (502-510)
Elizabeth Ryan (510-520)
Christine Nash (520-533)
Lisa Hernandez (533-554)
Norma Labes (554-557)
Genaro Origel (557-570)
Georgia O’Shima (570-573)
John Eaton (573-580)
Octavio Ojeda (580-595)
Edwardo Ambareo (595-610)
Heather Lee (610-632)
Steve Hulsman (632-642)
Jim McMillian (642-648)
Sue Boyles (648-653)
Ronald Dreher (653-658)
Riccardo Hernandez (658-721)
Rebuttal (pdf, page 722-753)
Riann Lee (722-728)
Lisa Hernandez (728-736)
Mohammad Rafaquat (736-740)
Edwardo Ambareo (740-747)
Closing Arguments (pdf, page 754-799)
State’s Closing Argument (755-770; 788-803)
Defense’s Closing Argument (770-787)
Proceedings (pdf, page 803-816)
The Defense moves for a mistrial “because of counsel’s closing argument. The point I would like to make here, the State objected to any evidence about the .380 Lorson coming in that was in possession of Lalo two days after the shooting. In closing argument they get up and say the defense has not tied the .380 into this particular crime. The reason we didn’t tie it in was because of the State’s motion to keep that evidence out. That is improper argument of the highest order.” (page 803-806)
Penalty Phase (pdf, page 817-859)
George Yonker (818-826)
Israel Tercero (826-835)
Catalina Arenas (835-841)
Juan Castillo (843-845)
Case Search of the Supreme Court of Nevada