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Castro may go free

Posted: April 23, 2008 2:16 p.m.
Updated: June 24, 2008 5:02 a.m.
After 20 hours of deliberation, a hung jury was announced this morning in the murder trial of Esperanza Castro.

The 12-person jury voted 9 to 3 to acquit but could not agree on a unanimous verdict, according to the bailiff of Dept. J at the San Fernando Courthouse.

With the hung jury, Esperanza Castro could be released from custody. However, as of Wednesday afternoon, she was still in custody at the courthouse, pending the District Attorney office's decision whether to re-try her.

It is the prosecutor's duty to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused individual committed the crime. In this case, deputy District Attorney Paula Gonzales was required to establish to the jury that the evidence she presented to the jury was sufficient to convict Esperanza Castro of murdering her husband.

Not all the 12 jury members, which consisted of seven women and five men, were able to agree that Gonzales, indeed, proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Esperanza Castro killed her husband Ramon.

Esperanza Castro, 45, was on trial for allegedly killing him in the bedroom of their Canyon Country home on March 22, 2006. The next day, his near-naked body was found bloodied and in the back of his abandoned pickup truck under a Highway 14 overpass on Sierra Highway. She was also charged with conspiracy to commit murder.

See Thursday's edition of The Signal for complete coverage.


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