Crime Briefs – September 20, 2019


(Crime Briefs – September 20)


Double Homicide

The defendant charged with gunning down an octogenarian couple at their home in a gated community in Palm Desert is the victims’ grandson, a spokesman for the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office confirmed today.

Frank Castro, 83, and Carolina Castro, 81, were found shot to death after deputies responded to reports of gunfire shortly before 2 p.m. Sept. 11 in the 43000 block of West Calle Las Brisas, just east of Warner Trail.

Their 32-year-old grandson, Frank Scott Castro III, was standing at the front of the property and taken into custody without a struggle, according to police, who have not commented on a motive for the attack.

Castro faces two murder counts, along with a special circumstance allegation of perpetrating multiple killings and sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations. Prosecutors have yet to determine whether they will pursue the death penalty against him, according to district attorney’s spokesman John Hall.

Castro, who pleaded not guilty to the charges on Friday, has no documented prior felony convictions in Riverside County. He is being held without bail at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside and is due back in court on Tuesday for a felony settlement conference.

City News Service


Charges Expected for Felon Suspected of Killing Man

RIVERSIDE (CNS) – Felony charges are expected to be filed today against a convicted felon suspected of fatally shooting a 24-year-old man on the east end of Riverside.

Tyler Allen Diaz, 28, was arrested Monday night and booked into the Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta on suspicion of murder, felony evading and being a felon in possession of a firearm. The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office is reviewing the case.

According to Riverside police, Diaz allegedly shot Emilio Espinoza about 4 a.m. Monday in the 900 block of La Cadena Drive, just off of Interstate 215. The suspect and victim were involved in a confrontation, and Diaz allegedly opened fire with a handgun, police said.

According to Officer Ryan Railsback, patrol officers reached the location within a few minutes and found the victim suffering from a gunshot to the upper body. He was taken to Riverside Community Hospital, where he died a short time later.

Railsback said investigators developed leads that day pointing to Diaz as the alleged shooter, and when he was spotted driving in the area of MLK Boulevard and I-215 about 7 p.m., officers signaled him to stop. However, Diaz allegedly floored his vehicle, leading officers on a chase through Grand Terrace, Jurupa Valley and then back into Riverside.

“As the suspect was driving eastbound on the 60 freeway, just past the 91 Freeway interchange, he collided into a vehicle which caused his car to become disabled and stop,” Railsback said. “The suspect tried to run away on foot but was quickly apprehended.”

No officers were injured during the chase, nor was Diaz or the motorist whose vehicle he hit.

According to court records, Diaz has a prior conviction for assault with a deadly weapon.

City News Service

(Crime Briefs – September 20)


Sex Trafficking

RIVERSIDE (CNS) – A convicted felon who compelled a 15-year-old girl to work as a prostitute in Riverside and San Bernardino counties was sentenced today to 25 years in state prison.

DeJuan Darsean Lewis, 35, pleaded guilty in March to pimping, witness intimidation, assault and two counts of unlawful intercourse with a minor.

In February, his co-defendant, 31-year-old Brandon Deonte Ellison, pleaded guilty to pimping and recruiting a minor for the purpose of prostitution. He was sentenced to 14 years in state prison.

The pair were arrested in April 2016 following a Riverside County Anti- Human Trafficking Task Force investigation.

According to investigators, the defendants became acquainted with the victim, whose identity was not released, after an encounter at the Moreno Valley Mall in March 2015.

They coaxed the girl into joining them and then would not permit her to leave once she was under their control, investigators said.

The girl was taken to an apartment in Palm Desert, where the defendants snapped explicit photographs of her and where Lewis beat and sexually assaulted her, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

The girl’s pictures and services were broadcast via online classified advertisements.

She was then put to work as a prostitute and transported to Colton, Indio, Palm Springs, Rancho Cucamonga and other inland locations as part of a two-month-long sex trafficking operation, according to prosecutors.

The teen was threatened with injury or death if she attempted to get away. However, in May 2015, she managed to escape and reveal what had happened to her, investigators said.

According to court records, Lewis had a prior conviction for assault with a deadly weapon resulting in great bodily injury. Ellison had no documented priors.

City News Service


DUI Death

RIVERSIDE (CNS) – A probationer pleaded guilty today to killing one of his passengers and seriously injuring another in an alcohol-fueled wreck just west of Perris and was immediately sentenced to 14 years and four months in state prison.

Heraclio Armando Garcia, 34, admitted one count each of DUI gross vehicular manslaughter and attempted murder with a great bodily injury allegation. A second-degree murder charge was dropped under the plea agreement with the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.

Superior Court Judge John Molloy certified the terms of the deal, which was reached as the defendant’s case was about to go to trial, and imposed the sentence stipulated by the prosecution and defense.

Cornelio Huerta, 24, of Compton was killed and then-23-year-old Sergio Garcia of Paramount was injured in the March 25, 2017, crash.

According to the California Highway Patrol, Garcia was driving westbound on Ellis Avenue, approaching Burton Road in excess of the speed limit, when he lost control of his 2010 Infiniti about 6 p.m. The car veered sharply left onto the shoulder of the road, where it “collided with several mailboxes and a chain-link fence,” said CHP Officer Dan Olivas.

He said the car continued in a westerly direction and collided with another chain-link fence, then overturned several times. Both passengers were ejected from the Infiniti, which came to rest on its right side in a dirt field.

Paramedics pronounced Huerta dead at the scene. Garcia was taken to Riverside University Medical Center in Moreno Valley, where he was treated for extensive injuries. Garcia was treated for minor injuries and jailed the next day.

According to court records, he had a prior misdemeanor conviction in Riverside County for driving on a suspended license. Records also indicated a separate driving-related conviction in another jurisdiction, but details were not specified.

City News Service

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