A Loudoun jury today recommended a sentence of life plus 16 years in prison for Braulio M. Castillo, who was found guilty of first-degree murder and two other charges in the March 19, 2014, death of his estranged wife, Michelle.
After hearing victim impact testimony this morning—including comments from the Castillo’s children—the jury deliberated for four hours before reporting a unanimous verdict on the sentence.
The jury’s recommendation will be finalized at a future hearing by Circuit Court Judge Stephen E. Sincavage, who has authority to decrease but not increase the sentence.
The trial began May 17. The jury began its deliberations Monday morning and reported guilty verdicts at about 6:45 p.m. that night. In addition to the murder charge, Castillo was found guilty of breaking and entering and violating a protective order.
Evidence in the case was that Castillo entered his wife’s home and strangled her in her bedroom, while their children were asleep down the hall. He then took her body to a basement bathroom and made it appear that she hanged herself in the shower. The couple was in the final stages of getting a divorce.
Speaking to the press today, Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Nicole Wittmann said in her 21 years as working as a prosecutor, she has never seen so many friends show up to court in support of a victim. Many of Michelle’s friends attended every day of the five-week hearing.
“It speaks volumes for who Michelle was,” she said.