Texas Execution Information Center

Execution Report: Juan Castillo

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A jury found Castillo guilty of capital murder in August 2005 and sentenced him to death. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the conviction and sentence in May 2007.

Debra Espinosa pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery and was sentenced to 40 years in prison. She is still in custody as of this writing. Francisco Gonzales pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to 40 years in prison. Information about his current status could not be found in public records because his name is very common. Teresa Quintero, who had previous convictions for burglary, theft, and shoplifting, pleaded no contest to robbery and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. She was released on parole in 2014.

Castillo had three execution dates set and subsequently removed from the calendar in 2017. His first date with death, last May, was rescheduled because prosecutors did not follow the correct procedures in requesting an execution date. Castillo came within two days of execution in September, but the state asked for a postponement because some of his lawyers lived and worked in the Houston area, which was suffering from flooding, power outages, and other effects of Hurricane Harvey. His execution was rescheduled for December. Two weeks ahead of that date, he received a stay because Gerardo Gutierrez stated that his testimony against Castillo was false.

Gutierrez stated in a court filing that Castillo did not give him the information about the crime that he described in his testimony, but "I made up this testimony to try to help myself."

The Court of Criminal Appeals returned the case to the trial court to determine how to deal with Gutierrez's recanted testimony. The trial court ruled that while Castillo did not incriminate himself to Gutierrez, he made incriminating statements to other witnesses, and their testimony was consistent with what Gutierrez had stated. The removal of Gutierrez's testimony, therefore, would not change the outcome of Castillo's trial. After the Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed this decision, Castillo's fourth execution date was set.

In an interview from Death Row the week before his execution, Castillo said he had "no idea" who killed Garcia. He also said that the medallion he was seen wearing the day after the murder was his, and Espinosa was not his girlfriend.

"I was offered a plea bargain three times," he said. "I refused to plead guilty ... I don't want to die, but at the same time, I would hate myself every day if I did that."

Tommy Garcia's mother and stepmother attended Castillo's execution. None of the condemned man's family attended.

"To everyone that has been there for me, you know who you are," he said in his last statement. "Love y'all. See y'all on the other side. That's it." He did not speak or look at the victim's witnesses. The lethal injection was then started.

"I can taste this s---," he added. "S--- does burn."

He was pronounced dead at 6:44 p.m.


By David Carson. Posted on 17 May 2018.
Sources: Texas Department of Criminal Justice, court documents, Associated Press, Houston Chronicle.

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