Murder trial focuses on gunshot trajectory and the wounds Castro sustained

Defense attorney Thomas Fisher argues on behalf of his client Joshia Palacios in the Keith Castro murder case. (Media pool photo)

Witness testimony in the trial involving the 2019 murder of Keith Castro centered around the review of Castro’s corpse conducted by Forensic Pathologist Dr. Rachel Lange.

Castro had abrasions on both palms of his hands, an abrasion on his left knee, and ankle and a puncture wound to the left side of his rib cage. Following his murder, an autopsy was performed by Dr. Lange. She determined that Castro died from a gunshot wound to the upper torso.

Dr. Lange testified: “The gunshot entrance wound was on the left side of his chest. Went straight through the body through the left chest cavity entering the left lung, hemothorax … and exited the body on his back.”

Dr. Lange was questioned further about the trajectory of the bullet by attorney Tom Fisher, who represents accused gunman Joshua Palacios.

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“We know that performing this analysis combines examining the internal organs. Would it have been possible for you to determine the path of the bullet just by seeing the body itself?” Fisher asked.

Dr. Lange answered that it would be possible to make a very reasonable guess about that based on the position of the entrance wound and the bullet.

“The path through the chest to the lower cavitiy would indicate to me that there was injury … so I could make a reasonable estimation of what the bullet path would be just based on that,” Dr. Lange said.

Dr. Lange agreed that it would be more helpful to make a trajectory determination by opening up the body and looking at the internal organs. In Castro’s case, the bullet passed straight through. Photographs of the examination were shared in court, depicting the wounds Castro sustained.

Lange told the court that the abrasions on Castro’s hands were consistent with trying to block an assault, a defensive wound, a possibility that Castro was trying to protect himself.

Trial will continue on Tuesday.


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Jolene Toves
Jolene joined the PNC team in 2017, as a producer, co-anchor and investigative reporter covering law enforcement, courts and crimes. Notable coverage includes the Ehlert case, the Mark Torre Jr. trial, the Allan Agababa trial, exclusive pieces on the Life of a Drug Dealer/Addict, and Life behind bars...the story of Honofre Chargualaf and Kevin Cruz. In 2019, she was promoted to Assistant News Director and Lead Anchor. From 2015 to 2017 she served as Public Relations and Promotions Manager, for the Hotel Nikko Guam handling local radio and advertorial promotions, as well as produced and directed tv commercials for the hotel. Prior to this she worked with KUAM for three years as a reporter and segment host. She began her journalism career in 2012, working with Glimpses of Guam contributing to the Guam Business Magazine, R&R magazine, MDM magazine and the Marianas Business Journal.