Castillo found guilty of murderPublished 9:22am Tuesday, July 21, 2009
By JESSICA SIEFF
Niles Daily Star
The verdict came Friday in Niles’ first homicide case in seven years.
And that verdict was guilty.
Now, Jonathan Castillo, 28 at the time of the purported crime will face the possibility of life in prison for the death of 22-year-old Michael Evans as he awaits sentencing.
Berrien County prosecutor Kelly Travis said she was, understandably happy with the verdict and said she hoped justice had been served for Evans’ family.
“We obviously felt there was strong evidence,” Travis said, that would support the prosecution’s case.
A date for sentencing in the Castillo verdict has yet to be set but Travis said the expectation is sentencing will take place sometime in mid-September.
That means Castillo, a father of three, will remain in the custody of the Berrien County Jail for the time being.
Castillo was arrested in February after a fight with Evans, of Dowagiac, broke out in the early morning hours of Feb. 2. Evans had come to the residence at the 1600 block of Maple Street in Niles that morning with Castillo’s ex-girlfriend and the mother of his children, Danielle Watson.
Through the investigation conducted by the Niles City Police Department, it was determined the fight took place in the middle of the street.
Though accounts varied, witnesses saying Castillo brought the murder weapon, a 10-inch blade kitchen knife with him and Castillo saying it was Evans who had the knife, it was Evans who suffered two stab wounds during the altercation.
He died from those wounds.
Castillo, with the help of his sister Brenda Macedo, left the scene of the crime, escaping to Elkhart where he was later found and brought back to Michigan.
Macedo is currently serving a sentence of 180 days for her part in the incident as an accessory after the fact.
Travis said the prosecution was seeking the maximum penalty of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
She also said that she spoke with Evans’ family following the verdict.
“I did speak with his mother,” she said, as well as some other relatives who attended the trial. “They were pleased, obviously…”
Travis said she expressed to the family that she hoped she’d helped in bringing a sense of justice to Evans’ death.
“They did feel justice was served,” she said, saying that it was “obviously a very emotional week,” for the family.
With the verdict, Travis said she hopes the family will now be able to move on.
“Hopefully,” she said. “Get some closure.”