Witnesses in murder trial recall hearing gunshot but couldn’t say who fired the gun

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

A man trying to sell his truck and a woman trying to score dope took the stand Tuesday morning to recall events that transpired the day Keith Castro was fatally shot. Both witnesses heard a gunshot but neither could say who fired the gun.

Ranato Dorian took the stand telling the court that he went to Matt Sablan’s home because Keith Castro was helping him sell his Toyota Tundra. Castro was fatally shot outside Sablan’s Yigo home allegedly by accused gunman Joshua Palacios. Dorian claimed to have met Sablan and Castro only weeks before the shooting occurred.

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Dorian recalled arriving at Sablan’s home around 4 or 5 pm because he was supposed to meet a potential buyer. While he was waiting in his vehicle, Sablan approached two cars parked behind his vehicle. But when asked about who was in that vehicle and whether anyone got out of the car, Dorian was hesitant to answer. It wasn’t until the government mentioned putting police officer Rivera on the stand to testify towards the statements he took that Dorian began sharing his version of the events.

Dorian testified that two men chased Keith around the house and then a gunshot was heard. The government asked who fired the gun, but again Dorian was hesitant to answer.

Dorian identified Thomas Taitano as the individual who was attacking Castro and picked Joshua Palacios out of a lineup.

Taitano’s girlfriend, Leonila Vasquez, also took the stand. She told jurors that they had gone to Sablan’s home to try and swap items for dope. She testified that Sablan came to their car and she asked to use his restroom. After she was done, she saw people running past Sablan’s bedroom and saw people fighting. She recalled hearing screaming and saw Castro trying to defend himself. While she testified that she didn’t see anyone holding a gun, she did recall hearing the fatal shot. Vasquez shared that she was yelling for the fighting to stop, that’s when she heard the gunshot and everyone but Palacios scattered. She said she didn’t recall seeing Palacios with a gun “but who else could it be?”

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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.