Mendota teen murder trial in judge's hands
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The case of a Valley teen accused of murdering his four-year-old neighbor is now in the hands of a judge.
Attorneys finished their closing arguments in the trial of 15-year-old Raul Castro. We are showing his face, despite his age, because he's being tried as an adult.
The defense team for Raul Castro says the teen was suffering from a bout of dissociative disorder, when he killed four-year-old Alex Mercado.
Defense Attorney, Barbara O'Neill said, "Raul himself told the police, 'I don't know what happened, I blanked out, I have no idea."
With the help of psychiatrist testimony, the defense says Castro was not in control when he attacked Mercado.
Castro's attorney also says problems with being overweight and being picked on lead to his psychotic breakdown.
O'Neill said, "It caused him to snap, it caused him to disassociate, it caused him to do something that never in his life would he do."
But the prosecution argues Castro had the attack planned, and knew exactly what was going on.
Prosecutor, Robert Romanacce said, "No other real signs of any psychiatric or psychotic problems in his history, certainly not prior to the incident."
The defense is also trying to get the kidnapping charge kicked; claiming Mercado wasn't taken very far. But prosecutors say because Mercado was so young, that charge is relevant.
Romanacce said, "Clearly, 4-year-old Alex was too young to give legal consent and the kidnapping was done for the improper purpose."
Earlier in the week video confession was shown in court. Castro is seen here admitting to detectives that he sexually assaulted and drowned Alex Mercado, before he hid the boy's body in a clothes dryer.
Mindy Mercado, Alex's mother, tells Action News, knowing that she's just a short time from hearing a verdict, is comforting to her family.
Mindy said, "Smiles are starting to come in, hope that it's going to be fast and we will receive justice."
Castro faces life in prison if convicted. Judge Jonathan Conklin is expected to rule on the murder case as early as Friday morning.
court, murder, crimetracker, mendota, fresno county, local, rick montanez
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