Guam – 31 year old John Jesse Tudela Castro appeared before Magistrate Judge Alberto Tolentino this afternoon and was formally charged with Aggravated Murder in the death last weekend of a 23 month old baby girl.
Castro was ordered held on $1-million dollars cash bail.
On Monday, Medical Examiner Dr. Aurileo Espinola concluded that the child’s death was a homicide after finding that the girl’s skull had been fractured and her intestine and liver were lacerated by blunt force trauma.
Early Tuesday morning Castro was arrested by Guam Police. Court documents say that he told police that he may have rolled over on the girl while he was asleep.
Castro appeared on the screen from the Hagatna lockup, head bowed, answering questions from the Judge with only a brief “Yes Sir” or “No Sir”.
His Attorney, Curtis Van de Veld, questioned the charges pointing to the Magistrate Complaint which refers to the Medical Examiner’s report. The Magistrate Complaint says that Dr. Aurelio Espinola’s autopsy “report also indicates that there was a contusion to the forehead, and multiple contusions to the back of her head that had occurred several days before the victim was brought to the hospital.”
Van de Veld highlighted that statement saying that “the only reported contact between Mr. Castro and the victim is on the night of January 10th 2014. So, if we accept as true the facts as stated her, this person sustained injuries several days before there was any indication of contact between her and the defendant. I think this raises a serious question of probable cause.”
However, the Assistent Attorney General expressed the belief that the declaration refering to Dr. Espinola’s remarks about the date of the injuries refered to “several days” before the date of the autopsy.