SAN JOSE (KCBS) – The man accused of going on a deadly crime spree last week in San Jose has been arraigned on eight felony counts, and is being held on suicide watch.
33-year-old Paul Ray Castillo, a two strike felon, appeared in court in Santa Clara County on Wednesday, sobbing uncontrollably.
Public defender Kenneth Mandel said authorities have placed Castillo on suicide watch while he is being held at Santa Clara County Jail.
“He feels terrible,” Mandel said about his client following his arraignment hearing Wednesday afternoon. “He’s obviously got mental health issues.”
Castillo appeared for about a minute in court Wednesday afternoon—handcuffed, face scrunched up, and tears running down his cheeks.
He was arraigned on eight felony charges and ordered to return to enter a plea on Oct. 5.
If convicted, he faces life in prison without the possibility of parole and could also be eligible for the death penalty, according to Deputy District Attorney James Leonard.
“The fact that the murder occurred during the course of a kidnapping and a carjacking – that could potentially make it a death penalty case,” said Leonard.
Prosecutors have charged Castillo with murder, kidnapping in the commission of a carjacking, attempted robbery, assault with a deadly weapon and causing bodily injury on a peace officer or firefighter, robbery with use of a firearm, burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, and unauthorized use or theft of a vehicle.
The charges stem from the alleged crime spree that began around 10 a.m. Friday at a Chevron gas station on Lincoln Avenue, where Castillo approached a 42-year-old man while he was pumping gas and allegedly shot him during a robbery attempt, police Sgt. Jason Dwyer said.
The victim was taken to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center and is expected to survive.
Castillo then allegedly fled the scene in a Nissan 300Z that had been reported stolen nine days earlier. Police later found the car at The Plant shopping center at Monterey Road and Curtner Avenue, about a mile from the gas station.
There, he allegedly carjacked 60-year-old Cindy Nguyen, a real estate agent and popular Vietnamese radio show host, around noon.
A colleague said Nguyen had called her assistant from the area on Friday afternoon to ask for help jumpstarting her car battery, but that she had called back to say some people had come by to help her. That was the last time anyone heard from her.
Castillo wasn’t seen again until six hours later, when police spotted his vehicle near a condo complex near Mabury and North King roads.
An officer fired several shots at him after he allegedly tried to run over the officer, Dwyer said. Castillo crashed the car and fled on foot and could not be located despite an extensive search.
Nguyen’s car, a white 1997 Lexus, was found in the area and her body was found at 8 a.m. Saturday in a home in the 500 block of North 12th Street. Castillo has ties to that home, Dwyer said.
Officers searched for Castillo throughout the weekend, even using a grounded police helicopter, until they finally tracked him down in West Sacramento and took him into custody around 7:30 p.m. Sunday.
KCBS’ Mike Colgan Reports:
San Jose residents Diana Figueroa, 43, and Juan de la Cerda, 36,
are suspected of helping Castillo evade capture.
Police have arrested Figueroa and de la Cerda is at large and
wanted on a $500,000 warrant charging him with accessory, according to police.
On Tuesday night, San Jose police served a search warrant at the Tree House Marijuana Collective in connection with the homicide and crime spree.
Investigators believe that Figueroa and De La Cerda are associated
with the marijuana collective and that the dispensary played a crucial role in Castillo’s attempt to evade police.
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