Guam – A Superior Court Jury Monday found mixed martial arts fighter Alex Castro guilty on 2 counts of third degree aggravated assault.
The verdict was not the second degree aggravated assault charge sought by the prosecution, but it still carries the possibility of a penalty of 5 years in prison for Castro.
Castro was accused of slugging Navy Sailor Petty Officer Jerret Dunham in the face in February 2010 during a bar fight at Club Hana in Tumon.
It did not take the jury long to reach their decision. Closing arguments were heard Monday morning and the case then went to the Jury. They reached their verdict before 3pm.
Following the verdict, Castro posted bail and was released. He is scheduled for sentencing on August 6.
Closing arguments were heard Monday morning.
Castro’s defense attorney Tom Fisher said his client may be “hated”, but he asked the jury to “rescue’ the MMA fighter from the allegations against him. Fisher says he’s innocent and in closing arguments, told jurors that prosecutors didn’t do enough to prove Castro’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Fisher said it was impossible that Castro’s alleged punch connected with Dunham’s eye because, according to Dunham’s own testimony, he was standing on a chair about 18 inches high. At 5’5, Fisher argued that there’s no way the right handed Castro could have reached the 5’11 Dunham while standing on a chair.
Dunham testified last week that the attack was so brutal that he was forced to receive multitple stitches around his eye socket, leaving him with a permanent scar.
In his rebuttal, Prosecutor Assistant Attorney General Gerard Henderson, argued that the defense theory didn’t make sense. He agreed that the “too tall” defense would work, but “only if we live in a world where we stand at attention.” Henderson argued that Dunham, stunned from watching Castro slug his friend, another Navy sailor, Jonathan Berrios, may have actually been slouched over with his knees bent as he tried to help Berrios, who was below him.
Another defense theory Henderson sought to dispel was the “civil claims lawsuit.” Last week, Fisher introduced into evidence a civil suit Dunham has prepared against Castro. Dunham is seeking monetary damages to pay for medical expenses and lost wages. But Fisher said the Navy covered all of Dunhma’s medical expenses and that he didn’t lose a dime in regular pay while on medical leave. Fisher accused Dunham today of using the lawsuit as a motive to blame the MMA fighter for his injuries from the Club Hana brawl.
But Henderson said there’s nothing wrong in suing someone for money when you’ve been attacked for no apparent reason, especially if the attack left you with a permanent scar.
Castro had two other co-defendants in the case, but the two men, Kyle Reyes and Elbert Cruz, both entered plea agreements before the trial began. Castro was also offered a plea deal but rejected the offer.
READ the release from the Guam Attorney General in FULL below:
Castro Found Guilty of Attacking Navy Sailors
Alex Castro was found guilty today by a Guam Superior Court jury for attacking two navy sailors back in 2010. Castro is convicted of two counts of third degree aggravated assault, one count of assault as a misdemeanor and reckless conduct as a misdemeanor. He was however, found not guilty on second degree felony aggravated assault, which carries a more severe prison sentencing.
Castro will spend up to five years in prison which will be determined at his sentencing scheduled for August 06, 2012.
“The successful prosecution of this defendant at trial is due in large part to the testimony provided by the victims in this case; a big thank you to them and also to the jury for their thoughtful deliberations throughout the trial,” Assistant Attorney General Gerald Henderson said.