Raul Castro, 15, found guilty in the murder of 4-year-old Alex Mercado
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- 15-year-old Raul Castro was convicted of first degree murder. Judge Jonathan Conklin said Castro knew what he was doing when he killed four-year-old Alex Mercado in October, 2009.
In the courtroom, the teenager killer sat still as the Judge Conklin read the guilty verdict.
There was, however, an immediate gasp, a sigh of relief, from Alex Mercado's family.
Mindy Mercado, exhausted from all the tears and anxiety of the week, read a statement outside the Fresno County courthouse. "I came here to find justice and to see that justice would be served in Alex's name," Mercado said. "But I see that there's no justice because all I really would have wanted was to have him here with us." While the Mercado's did find relief inside the courtroom, it is not enough since little Alex is no longer with them.
Both Castro's mother and his attorney declined to speak with Action News.
The only success the defense had in this case was getting Judge Conklin to find Castro not guilty of kidnapping.
"I know he got off with one charge, but he's not going to get off with the rest," said Laura Robledo, Alex's aunt.
Castro confessed to killing Mercado in a taped interview with detectives.
But, the defense claimed Castro was mentally ill when he raped and drowned young Alex. After the murder, Castro hid the body in a clothes dryer inside his Mendota apartment.
"There are no words I can offer to the boy or his family, but like them I wish this had never happened," Mercado said. "I continue to live without Alex by my side, but I will forever carry him in my heart."
Raul Castro is scheduled to be sentenced on June 24th, he could face up to life in prison.
Reaction to the verdict was immediate and very passionate on the ABC30 Facebook page.
Kathleen wrote: "Feel very sorry for both mothers. They've each lost a child. Sad."
Lisa wrote: "Two families that will never be the same. My prayers to everyone."
murder, court, mendota, fresno downtown, fresno, fresno county, local, rick montanez
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