Defendant says he's not being properly represented
Tuesday, October 21st 2014, 3:52 PM ChST
Guam - He's accused of killing his girlfriend's toddler, and come early next month, John J.T. Castro will face a superior court jury.
But before he does so, it appears Castro may not be confident with his counsel heading into trial. Castro faces a possible life sentence behind bars and today before Judge James Canto, expressed his concerns that he's not being adequately represented by a public defender, Pablo Aglubat.
During Castro's pre-trial hearing Tuesday morning, he made a Marsden motion, or a request to the court to discharge his court appointed lawyer on the basis of being incompetently or inadequately represented by counsel.
Castro stated "All I want is communication" citing instances where he waited to meet with his Aglubat or didn't see him at all adding "I understand you're busy. I understand my case is between your 300."
In Aglubat's defense, he addressed the court stating he did in fact meet with Castro noting that some delays were a result of the recent typhoon conditions.
Superior Court Judge James Canto denied Castro's motion noting that he has the opportunity to hire his own counsel, but Castro noted that while he's being detained at the department of corrections, he simply cannot afford to do so.
In response, Castro stated "I will find out more and we'll see where it stands from there" following his request to visit the law library.
Castro is charged with aggravated murder, aggravated assault and child abuse accused of beating a 23-month-old toddler back in January. According to court documents, the toddler was under Castro's care while the child's mother was at work.
According to KUAM News files, an autopsy revealed that the victim had bruising all over her head and body, a fractured skull and extensive internal injuries. Castro told police the girl had fallen and hit her head and he massaged her. But the autopsy indicated otherwise as the bruising to the girl's head had occurred several days before her death.
KUAM News files also show that Castro is unemployed with six children. In the last decade, he was arrested three times - back in 2009 on family violence and theft of property charges, back in 2008 for family violence and assault charges, and back in 2003 for first and second degree criminal sexual conduct, child abuse, and family violence charges. In each case, he was released shortly after with court records showing no criminal cases ever filed against him.
Castro is scheduled to head to trial on November 5.