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Castro trial takes recess

Posted: March 8, 2008 2:12 a.m.
Updated: May 9, 2008 5:03 a.m.
The trial of Esperanza Castro enters week two Monday, after an uneventful start Tuesday that marked the first serious movement in the case since Castro was arrested in March 2006.

Castro, 42, who is being held in lieu of $2 million bail in the Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood, sat quietly and without expression in the court throughout the first three days of testimony, listening through a headset to a Spanish-language translation of the proceedings.

Castro's demeanor did little to reflect the violent crime she is accused of. She is charged with bludgeoning her husband to death in their Canyon Country home before dumping his body in the bed of his truck and leaving it under the Highway 14 overpass in Newhall on March 22.

Deputy District Attorney Paula Gonzales argued that Ramon Castro's life insurance policy and alleged infidelities were motive for his wife to kill him. Defense attorney Peter Korn maintained that the prosecution's witnesses were unreliable and that the insurance policy and affairs had long been out in the open and therefore did not constitute a motive.

The first few witnesses called by the prosecution were Sheriff's deputies and investigators who described the alleged crime scenes on Evron Street and on Sierra Highway. Blood, footprints and other evidence were found, but Korn attempted to point out the inconsistencies with the evidence and the way it was processed.

On Wednesday Korn requested a mistrial after Gonzales presented evidence that he had not previously been made available to the defense. However, the judge rejected the motion, but instructed the jury to disregard the testimony regarding observations about Castro's hair.

Judge Burt Pines decided to give jurors the day off Friday in order to take care of other matters in his courtroom. However testimony resumes Monday in Department I of the San Fernando Superior Court.
The trial is expected to last five more weeks.


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