Teen testifies against former girlfriend
A teen who pleaded guilty to beating a teen last year near Independence Pass implicated his former girlfriend in the brutal attack during testimony Thursday.Jaime Castro told a jury Cinthia Romero was there the night of the attack and took part in it, although the defense has been building a case that two men attacked the girl.Romero, 17, is being tried as an adult on charges that she and Castro severely beat a 16-year-old girl near Independence Pass last year and left her for dead. Thursday was the third day of the trial, which is expected to conclude no later than Nov. 17.Castro was 17 on Oct. 9, 2004, the day of the attack. He pleaded guilty to assault charges this summer. He is serving time in a juvenile detention facility.Romero’s attorney, Arnie Mordkin, has emphasized throughout the trial that the victim initially told police that two men, one white and one Latino, had picked her up in a park and taken her up the pass, where they tried to rape her and then beat her. She recanted that story after three days and named Castro and Romero as her assailants.In Thursday’s court proceedings, Castro testified that he, Romero and the victim had been living at his mother’s home in the Truscott Place affordable housing project next to the Aspen Golf Course.Castro said the victim, tired of feeling left out and aware that Castro’s mother wanted her out of the house, had announced she wanted to go back to California. She and Romero had run away from their separate homes in Bakersfield, Calif., and caught a bus to Aspen in late September, where Romero planned to hook up with Castro, whom she had met on the Internet.When the victim said she wanted to go back to California, Castro said, he and Romero talked over the fact that they had no money to buy the girl a bus ticket home.At that point, Castro said, “I told her [Romero] that we should kill her.”Asked if Romero had any response, Castro replied, “She just went like that,” and shrugged his shoulders.Romero, seated at the defense table with Mordkin, showed little emotion during Castro’s testimony, as she has throughout the trial.Castro described the trip up Independence Pass with Romero and the victim in his mother’s car, a white sport utility vehicle. “We made three stops,” he said, one for a bathroom break, another to take pictures and a third when the attack occurred.He said he pulled the victim out of the car and Romero held the girl while he began hitting her in the head with a golf club they had found at the Castro home. He testified that he thought Romero, too, used the golf club on the victim, although he could not recall how many times Romero hit the girl.”I thought I was going to die,” the victim told police after the attack, according to recorded interviews. But a passing car pulled up, and she was able to run away and get a ride to Aspen, the police and medical care.Castro testified that he and Romero then drove home to get gas money from his mother, then to a friend’s house in Basalt, where they ditched the car because they feared police might be looking for it.He said they caught a Roaring Fork Transportation Authority bus back to Aspen, then left to get out of the state and away from the police. They ultimately traveled to Virginia, he said, where Romero knew someone, and it was there that they were arrested and held for trial.John Colson’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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