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Details of Child's Murder Revealed During Court Hearing; Bail Set at $1 Million for Suspect

April 13, 2007 – V.I. Superior Court Judge Brenda Hollar set bail at $1 million during an advice of rights hearing Friday for Daniel Castillo, 30, who was taken into Police custody Thursday in connection with the murder of 12-year-old Laquina K. Hennis, who had been missing since Good Friday, April 6.
According to the Police report filed by Cpl. Roselyn Bedminster, Castillo was advised of his rights Thursday evening after being taken into police custody earlier that day at 5 p.m. The report notes that Castillo, previously identified as a "person of interest" in the case, waived his rights and made a statement, confessing to the killing of Hennis and explaining how he disposed of the body.
Although court documents indicated that Castillo has been charged with second-degree murder, Attorney General Vincent Frazer, during a press conference Friday , was adamant that Castillo has yet to be formally charged.
Hennis' body was found around 7:45 p.m. Wednesday, as V.I. Search and Rescue volunteers worked their way through several buildings situated on Lot 16, Eighth Street in Sugar Estate. According to Rescue team leader Carl Fleming, the search team had been in the area over the past few days, responding to complaints from residents about a foul odor emanating from some of the structures. (See "Child's Body Identified as That of Missing Girl, 'Person of Interest' in Custody.").
Hennis' body was identified on Thursday by the local medical examiner.
Bedminster testified at Friday's hearing that Hennis had gone to Oswald Harris Court on Good Friday afternoon to visit her sister and that she was supposed to have been picked up by a family friend. Bedminster said the girl was last seen walking west, with Castillo, on First Avenue toward Eighth Street from the area of Oswald Harris Court.
After recounting the circumstances of the case leading to the discovery of the Hennis' body, Bedminster told of Castillo's confession. From her testimony, it became apparent that Castillo knew Hennis and members of her family.
According to the police report, Castillo told Bedminster that April 6 was his birthday. He said he had smoked some marijuana and had some beers earlier in the day. He saw Hennis Friday afternoon and told her to follow him because he wanted to give her some belongings of her uncle's. She then reportedly followed him to the building where her body was finally found.
According to Bedminster's report, Castillo has a child, whose mother lives with Laquina's mother. Castillo said he told Hennis that it was her mother's fault that he couldn't see his child, and he called Laquina's mother "a bitch."
He said Laquina struck him after he said that and that he grabbed her by the throat and strangled her. He then put the body in the plastic tub, where search and rescue volunteers eventually discovered Hennis' body.
Castillo, who showed no visible reaction as Bedminster gave her chilling testimony, appeared solemn, sitting with his head bowed, and eyes downcast as Hollar read him his rights, asking him if he understood what she was saying.
Castillo, dressed in his orange prison uniform, replied in an almost inaudible voice, "Yes, your honor," to each inquiry. He was then led from the courtroom by a Superior Court marshal.
When Hollar announced Castillo's $1 million bail, she said, "He was born on St. Thomas, and he is a danger to the community."
Calling the crime, "despicable," she noted that Castillo has a criminal history "and should be taken out of the community." She said there is a matter still pending from March, a charge of aggravated assault and battery, where he was released "on his own recognizance."
Police records show that in 2004 Castillo was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree rape, two counts of carry and use of a dangerous weapon, one count of attempted robbery, and one count of third-degree assault.
All but the third-degree charges were dismissed. He was fined $500 and sentenced to two years in jail with all but 18 months suspended.
He was also arrested in 2002 and charged with possible stolen property and interfering with an officer on duty. He was fined $200, and given five months and 18 days in jail with three months supervised probation.
Castillo's arraignment is scheduled for Thursday, April 19 at 9 a.m. in Hollar's courtroom.
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April 13, 2007 – V.I. Superior Court Judge Brenda Hollar set bail at $1 million during an advice of rights hearing Friday for Daniel Castillo, 30, who was taken into Police custody Thursday in connection with the murder of 12-year-old Laquina K. Hennis, who had been missing since Good Friday, April 6.
According to the Police report filed by Cpl. Roselyn Bedminster, Castillo was advised of his rights Thursday evening after being taken into police custody earlier that day at 5 p.m. The report notes that Castillo, previously identified as a "person of interest" in the case, waived his rights and made a statement, confessing to the killing of Hennis and explaining how he disposed of the body.
Although court documents indicated that Castillo has been charged with second-degree murder, Attorney General Vincent Frazer, during a press conference Friday , was adamant that Castillo has yet to be formally charged.
Hennis' body was found around 7:45 p.m. Wednesday, as V.I. Search and Rescue volunteers worked their way through several buildings situated on Lot 16, Eighth Street in Sugar Estate. According to Rescue team leader Carl Fleming, the search team had been in the area over the past few days, responding to complaints from residents about a foul odor emanating from some of the structures. (See "Child's Body Identified as That of Missing Girl, 'Person of Interest' in Custody.").
Hennis' body was identified on Thursday by the local medical examiner.
Bedminster testified at Friday's hearing that Hennis had gone to Oswald Harris Court on Good Friday afternoon to visit her sister and that she was supposed to have been picked up by a family friend. Bedminster said the girl was last seen walking west, with Castillo, on First Avenue toward Eighth Street from the area of Oswald Harris Court.
After recounting the circumstances of the case leading to the discovery of the Hennis' body, Bedminster told of Castillo's confession. From her testimony, it became apparent that Castillo knew Hennis and members of her family.
According to the police report, Castillo told Bedminster that April 6 was his birthday. He said he had smoked some marijuana and had some beers earlier in the day. He saw Hennis Friday afternoon and told her to follow him because he wanted to give her some belongings of her uncle's. She then reportedly followed him to the building where her body was finally found.
According to Bedminster's report, Castillo has a child, whose mother lives with Laquina's mother. Castillo said he told Hennis that it was her mother's fault that he couldn't see his child, and he called Laquina's mother "a bitch."
He said Laquina struck him after he said that and that he grabbed her by the throat and strangled her. He then put the body in the plastic tub, where search and rescue volunteers eventually discovered Hennis' body.
Castillo, who showed no visible reaction as Bedminster gave her chilling testimony, appeared solemn, sitting with his head bowed, and eyes downcast as Hollar read him his rights, asking him if he understood what she was saying.
Castillo, dressed in his orange prison uniform, replied in an almost inaudible voice, "Yes, your honor," to each inquiry. He was then led from the courtroom by a Superior Court marshal.
When Hollar announced Castillo's $1 million bail, she said, "He was born on St. Thomas, and he is a danger to the community."
Calling the crime, "despicable," she noted that Castillo has a criminal history "and should be taken out of the community." She said there is a matter still pending from March, a charge of aggravated assault and battery, where he was released "on his own recognizance."
Police records show that in 2004 Castillo was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree rape, two counts of carry and use of a dangerous weapon, one count of attempted robbery, and one count of third-degree assault.
All but the third-degree charges were dismissed. He was fined $500 and sentenced to two years in jail with all but 18 months suspended.
He was also arrested in 2002 and charged with possible stolen property and interfering with an officer on duty. He was fined $200, and given five months and 18 days in jail with three months supervised probation.
Castillo's arraignment is scheduled for Thursday, April 19 at 9 a.m. in Hollar's courtroom.
Back Talk


Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.