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Castro's neighbors testify in murder trial

Posted: March 13, 2008 12:47 a.m.
Updated: May 14, 2008 5:03 a.m.
SAN FERNANDO - One day after a biologist testified about DNA evidence in the Castro murder trial, county Deputy District Attorney Paula Gonzales shifted gears and called to the stand two of Esperanza and Ramon Castro's neighbors. She also played for the jury a video of Esperanza Castro waiting in a Sheriff's Department interview room.

Julie Piercy and Antonio "Tony" Garcia, neighbors who lived across the street from the Castros, testified on Wednesday afternoon about what they observed on March 22, 2006, the night that Ramon Castro was killed at his home.

Both witnesses testified that they personally knew the Castros. Piercy specifically testified about certain habits she observed at the Castro residence, such as where cars were parked, how often the garage was left open and how Ramon, Esperanza and the children entered and exited the home.

Garcia, who spoke to the court and jury through an interpreter, testified that he only interacted with Ramon Castro on one occasion.

When he moved into his home in 2004, Ramon Castro did some landscaping work at Garcia's residence, which is directly across the street from the Castro home.

Neither witness testified that they knew anything about the slaying of Ramon Castro, though they both testified that Sheriff's deputies did interview them immediately after the killing.

Earlier in the day, the jury watched a DVD of Esperanza Castro in a Sheriff's Station interview room on March 23, 2006, hours after she reported a burglary and Ramon Castro was found dead.

Gonzales played the video to show the defendant's physical demeanor when she was held by Sheriff's deputies, inferring Esperanza Castro's potential guilt.

The trial is set to continue today.


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