Still no motive in Castro murder case; Palacios bail set at $500,000

Joshua Palacios (PNC file photo)

Police worked quickly to bring the individuals responsible for the murder of Keith Castro to justice so that they could answer to the crime. Now, Thomas Taitano and Joshua Palacios are behind bars accused in his death.

The motive for Castro’s murder remains a mystery, all police have told the community is that Castro was at the home on Chalan Tun Fred Cabesa street on July 28 to help sell a motor vehicle and although it is unclear why Thomas Taitano and Joshua Palacios showed up to the residence, police say Taitano and Castro immediately began to fight.

Through the investigation, authorities uncovered that Taitano beat Castro with a baton, continuing his assault on Castro as he attempted to flee. That’s when Palacios allegedly shot Castro.

Palacios told police that he had smoked methamphetamine for five days prior to him pulling the trigger, and that because of his drug use he did not remember being at the residence indicating that “ice makes him black out.”

The judicial process is not new to either men, as both have had run-ins with the law and have violent criminal histories.

PNC files show that the gunman, Palacios, was arrested in 2012 in connection with a string of armed robberies in which police say he confessed to his involvement in the robberies of the Tai Sho game room, Winner game room, H.A. Mart and Golden motel.

Meanwhile, in 2014, according to court documents, Taitano was charged with aggravated arson as a second-degree felony. Court documents state that he set fire to his Dededo home by knocking over a candle after engaging in an altercation with his brother. He was also accused of attempting to strike his brother with a machete. That case did not go to trial. Instead, Taitano took a deal with the government, pleading guilty to aggravated arson as a second-degree felony. The plea resulted in him being sentenced to five years in prison. He was released on July 23, 2017. His parole was scheduled to end in 2020, but according to parole services, he has been on the run for a year.

During the investigation of Castro’s shooting, police say that Taitano had assaulted three other individuals the day after Castro was found dead at the Yigo home.

Court documents indicate that Taitano attempted to run over two men and a woman who was romantically involved with Taitano. According to the complaint, Taitano also drove his vehicle into two vehicles belonging to the woman. Taitano had stated recently that “he would kill anyone who stopped him from seeing his girlfriend and that he was not afraid to go to jail.”

During this incident, police say that Taitano ran away from authorities, slamming his vehicle into a police unit before taking them on a high-speed car chase which ended with Taitano crashing his vehicle and evading police on foot.

In court today, Palacios, who is represented by attorney Terrance Timberland, answered to the charges against him which include murder, keeping in mind that he has five previous convictions.

The court noted that Palacios had five prior convictions and that his risk assessment is high. In addition, the court was concerned that Pacios will not comply with court orders and that he might be a flight risk and a danger to the community. The court thus required a $500,000 cash bail for Palacios.

Taitano answered to the charges of aggravated assault, pleading not guilty on Saturday. He was held on $100,000 cash bail.


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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.