After initial deadlocked jury trial, district attorney negotiates plea that puts murderer behind bars.
A Canyon Country woman accused of murdering her husband in 2006 began her 13-year prison sentence today.
Esperanza Castro, 45, was arrested March 24, 2006 after the body of her husband, Ramon, was found in the back of his landscaping truck, which had been abandoned under a freeway bridge on Sierra Highway. The popular gardener, whose clients were shocked at his murder, was bound at the hands and feet and a black plastic bag was wound around his neck.
Esperanza had reported a burglary at the couple’s Evron Avenue home late the night before, but investigators found enough evidence to hold her accountable for her actions the night her husband died.
She was initially held on $2 million bail because prosecutors felt she was a flight risk with connections in Mexico and her first trial included a litany of accusations of Ramon’s infidelity and inattentiveness as well as Esperanza’s confiding to friends of her frustrations.
The first jury deadlocked 9-3 in April 2008 and the District Attorney’s office immediately filed to keep Castro in custody and arrange another trial.
According to District Attorney spokeswoman Shiara Davila-Morales, that second trial never happened and a negotiated plea was reached instead. On Monday, Superior Court Judge Burt Pines sentenced Esperanza Castro to 13 years in state prison after she pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter and admitted the use of a dangerous and deadly weapon as well as a principal armed allegation.
“You could call these sentencing enhancements,” Davila-Morales said. “The judge also dismissed two charges, of murder and conspiracy.”
Along with her time behind bars, Castro was also ordered to pay $6,080.90 to the state victim’s restitution program. She could be out of prison as early as 2020.