Local

Teen Accused of Killing 4-Yr-old Mendota Boy Appears in Court

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The lawyer for a 14-year-old boy is trying to shield him both literally and figuratively as the teenager prepares to face murder charges. The boy is facing adult murder and molestation charges after investigators say he confessed to killing 4-year-old Alex Mercado.

Castro's attorneys declined to enter a plea to the charges so they can gather more information. Tuesday was the 14-year-old's second court appearance. For the first time, a judge allowed cameras to video tape the boy who faces adult charges.

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When Raul Castro appeared in court his defense attorney tried to block him from our camera. Judge Jon Nick Kapetan took issue with defense attorney Barbara O'Niell's attempt to keep the boy out of court. Judge Kapetan said, "With all due respect, can I bring Mr. Castro into the courtroom please? I understand Ms. O'Neill that you are going to be appointed on this case, but I would like him in the courtroom." O'Neill said, "Your honor, I'm going to object. He's 14-years old. He doesn't need to be on the evening news."

Judge Kapetan over ruled O'Neill's objections. Castro entered court where his arraignment was delayed. An affidavit shows the boy confessed to molesting and drowning 4-year-old Alex Mercado. Alex's body was discovered last month in a clothes dryer-located inside Castro's Mendota home. The defendant left the courtroom- glancing briefly at his family who attended the hearing.

Castro's attorney and family left without making a comment. Public Defender Kathy Marousek originally had the case but removed herself citing a conflict of interest. Action News has learned her office also represented Castro's father Jose Antonio Castro. The man plead guilty in 1996 to molesting a boy. Castro's father was deported to Mexico after serving three years in prison.

The 14-year-old returns to court next week where he is expected to plead not guilty.



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