Teen guilty in beating case
An Aspen teen charged with attempted murder in the beating of a runaway on Independence Pass pleaded guilty to first-degree assault Tuesday.Jaime Castro, 18, will serve three to six years in a youth offender facility run by the state Department of Corrections in Pueblo. If he completes that term, a substantial amount of his sentence in adult prison will be waived.If found guilty of attempted first-degree murder, Castro could have spent eight to 24 years in prison.Tuesday’s quick hearing brought a partial end to a brutal case that began on the side of Highway 82 in October 2004. Police said Castro and his girlfriend, Cinthia Romero, of Bakersfield, Calif., used a golf club to assault the victim, who had run away from home with Romero. They then drove away, leaving the victim bleeding on the roadside, according to investigators. Passers-by took the girl to Aspen. She was hospitalized for nearly two weeks with head injuries and a broken arm.The girl was attacked by the couple, who had met over the Internet, because she said she wanted to go home, according to an arrest warrant. The girls had been staying with Castro in his mother’s Aspen home.”[The victim] told the other two that she would go to police and turn herself in,” the warrant says.Romero was upset at the possibility of being discovered, police contended. The girl said Romero and Castro told her to gather her things and said they were taking her to get a bus ticket, according to the warrant.Castro instead drove up the pass and pulled the victim from the car, police said. She said Romero struck her three times, causing her to fall, and said Castro hit her once as she was trying to get up.The couple was arrested a couple of months later in Newport News, Va., where they had been living together.Detective Bruce Benjamin of the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office said he was happy with Castro’s sentence.”It’s a regimented program, meaning you have to get up in the morning, you can’t keep long hair, you have to go to school to get your GED,” he said. “Mr. Castro didn’t have any criminal history [and] that’s the best opportunity for him to get something out of incarceration and turn his life around. Six years is still a significant amount of time.”Castro’s case had been consolidated with Romero’s, meaning their court hearings were held at the same time, though they remained separate cases.Romero’s trial on charges of first-degree attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon is still set for November. Castro is scheduled to be formally sentenced July 11.Chad Abraham’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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