After two weeks of witness testimony, the jury has found Joshua Palacios guilty of the murder of Keith Castro. Palacios now faces life imprisonment.
Closing arguments didn’t go without a hitch as the government received communication from Nicole Mantanona, a witness in the case, who reached out to the Office of the Attorney General, saying that she had information regarding the testimony of Matt Sablan and Heather Castro.
Mantanona told the OAG that she had read media reports regarding the testimonies of Sablan and Castro and claimed that they were not being completely honest.
The information was provided to Superior Court Judge Vernon Perez who had to make the decision to move forward with closing arguments or to reopen witness testimony.
Perez decided to proceed with closing and as such the government took their last opportunity to convince the jury.
Joshua Palacios is on trial for murder with the special allegation of use of a deadly weapon in the commission of a felony. While the government says Palacios is the shooter, defense attorney Thomas Fisher pointed out that his client is not bald and the shooter was identified as being a bald man.
He shifted focus from Palacios, who Fisher says has no motive, to Thomas Taitano the man who pleaded guilty to assaulting Castro with a baton moments before the shooting.
Fisher pointed out that Palacios was only named as the shooter after Taitano surrendered to authorities. Before that, authorities believed Taitano was the shooter. Fisher also pointed out that Taitano struck a “fantastic deal with the government to get out of prison and put another person in.”
The government responded that Palacios wants to say Taitano lied but according to the prosecutor, Taitano always denied being the shooter and it was Palacios who, when asked, gave roundabout answers, indicating that it is Palacios who lied and has everything to lose.