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Castro murder trial resumes today

• Eight-day recess ends; prosecution plans testimony.

Posted: April 3, 2008 12:41 a.m.
Updated: June 4, 2008 5:05 a.m.
The murder trial against Esperanza Castro resumes today after an eight-day recess. Judge Burt Pines, who called the recess for administrative reasons, sent the jurors home after they heard testimony on behalf of the prosecution on March 25.

Esperanza Castro is on trial for murdering her husband, Ramon Castro, who was found dead in his pickup truck under a Highway 14 overpass on Sierra Highway on March 23, 2006. The night before, Esperanza Castro had called deputies to report a burglary at her home - less than one hour after Ramon Castro was killed. A neighbor and key witness for the prosecution testified last week that he saw Esperanza Castro carry her husband's body, covered in a plastic bag, to his pickup truck.

The neighbor was discredited by the defense, though the prosecutor attempted to rebuild her case shortly before the court took recess.

Nearly two years after the slaying, Esperanza Castro's trial for allegedly killing her husband commenced on March 4. Deputy District Attorney Paula Gonzales argued that Esperanza Castro had previously threatened Ramon Castro's life, and had motive to kill him because he had several extra-marital affairs and owned two life insurance policies worth more than $1 million.

Yet Esperanza Castro's attorney, Peter Korn, argued that the prosecution's witness was not credible and that Ramon Castro's financial holdings and personal affairs were common knowledge.

In the month since the trial began, Gonzales has called several witnesses, including sheriff's deputies, DNA experts, several family members and a few people who lived near the Castro residence.

When the trial resumes today after the short recess, the prosecution will continue its testimony. There is no timeline as to when the trial will be complete, but closing arguments are expected to be made shortly.


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