Man found guilty of second-degree murder

DAVID CASTRO

David Castro, 32, was found guilty of second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder on Wednesday for his role in the slaying of Kyle Free.

After deliberating through Tuesday afternoon and into the next day, the jury reached a verdict at around 3 p.m. on Wednesday.

While the 21st Judicial District Attorney's Office charged Castro with first-degree murder, the jury ultimately decided to convict him on the lesser crime of second-degree murder.

"I will start this case talking about Kyle Free, I will end the case talking about Kyle Free," Assistant District Attorney Rich Tuttle said during closing arguments earlier this week.

He felt Castro's words and actions before, during and after the killing demonstrated the crime was a planned hit on Free.

Free is believed to have died in the garage of the home he shared with Rebecca Walker in April 2018. Walker was previously sentenced to 51 years in the Department of Corrections by the Mesa County Court for her role in his death.

Prosecutors as well as law enforcement on the case believed Castro and another man, John Eddy, came over to Walker's that night and that Free was ultimately shot and killed within minutes of their arrival.

Tuttle also insinuated in closing arguments that he believed jail phone calls and letters between Walker and Castro indicated the two shared an intimate relationship.

"There's obviously more to the story with Castro and Walker," he added.

Tuttle advised the jury to listen to tapes between the two to draw their own conclusion.

While Castro's defense did not argue that Free was murdered in his garage that night or even that Castro was there, their case was that the evidence did not implicate Castro as the shooter. In fact, the defense argued that Eddy should be the one held responsible for firing the shots that killed Free.

"This case wasn't about Kyle Free or David Castro," defense attorney Sarah Tenhoff said in her closing arguments. "This is about the People v. Rebecca Walker, the People v. John Eddy ..."

Other suspects were also brought up who were alleged to have helped Walker dispose of the body.

"The evidence in this case links Walker to John Eddy," she added.

She felt the district attorney's office placed Castro in the center of the conspiracy despite the phone messages and physical evidence telling a different story.

"Took one look at him and assumed he was a part of the murder," Tenhoff added.

She brought up the fact that the prosecution claimed during opening arguments that Castro took trophy photos of Free after he was shot that night, when in fact Walker testified herself a few days later that it was Eddy who took the trophy photos, alone the next day.

Tenhoff argued that individuals shouldn't be convicted because they are guilty by association and said it wasn't enough that Castro was present that night.

Castro's sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 4.

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