The Virginia Court of Appeals has upheld convictions for first degree murder, burglary and violation of a protective order against Braulio Castillo of Ashburn.
Castillo was sentenced to life plus 16 years of imprisonment following a six-week trial in the spring of 2016, during which he was found guilty in the murder of his estranged wife, Michelle Castillo, on March 19, 2014.
Forensic, medical and cell phone evidence indicated that he broke into her home, suffocated and strangled her, then framed it as a suicide.
Further evidence was provided by a neighbor’s security camera footage, as well as by Martin Grime, a world-renowned expert in the field of cadaver dogs. He and his dogs Morse and Keela visited the Castillo home 17 days after the victim’s body was found and further determined the improbability of a suicide.
In a 60-page published opinion in early June, the court emphasized that the evidence of Castillo’s guilt was overwhelming. The court rejected all 10 separate assignments of error in the case alleged by the defense.
“The opinion is a significant one for the commonwealth,” Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Nicole Wittmann, the lead trial attorney, said in a prepared statement. “The court was very thorough in its analysis, addressing each issue of appeal.”
A copy of the Court of Appeals opinion can be found at http://www.courts.state.va.us/opinions/opncavwp/0140174.pdf.