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.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments (17)
  1. dboff says:

    Let him commit suicide. It will save us all the money for a trial and housing him in a prison.

    1. Biker says:

      You took the words right out of my mouth.

    2. taxpayer says:

      next is his sob story? taxpayers are on the hook for a lawyer and room and board and medical and dental? agreed, let him kill himself asap

    3. Mark says:

      Amen, brother (or sister)! It’s just unfortunate that he didn’t off himself before he started killing others. Burn in hell Paul!

  2. P. Carlos says:

    I have no sympathy for him or anyone else who has no value on human life. Where were the tears when he killed his victims? Why is he crying is court… Hmmm you think because he got caught? Because he is facing a life/death sentence? Maybe to drum up a crazy/insane plea? Hmmm I agree with the comment made by dboff…. stop charging us poor hard-working people taxes to house/feed these SOBs who only remember their human rights after they are arrested, and let him do whatever he needs to do… DUH!

  3. Moock says:

    So many with severe mental health issues… and yet they don’t kill.

  4. An eye for an eye says:

    The soon a bullet given to this fu cking Castillo, the better it is. What the f uck “Life in Prison without the possibility of Parole?” Parole my ass.

  5. Return SJ to safe says:

    LOL what a f**king joke. He feels terrible? He crossed the threshold when he committed a homicide. I don’t give a rats ass if he’s got mental problem now, he needs to go kill himself. I grew up in San Jose and I love it because it feels safe. When this happened I’ve been on edge. Gotta make an example outta him. Bury him alive-there are plenty of people out there that will do it for free. Or let him kill himself. In his case, stop with the suicide watch. The public defender Kenneth Mendel should not try hard to represent his client.

  6. JR says:

    He and his lawyer obviously have mental issues, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t die quickly. Let him kill himself, do us all a favor.

  7. ron says:

    Why is the remorse part only come around after the dirt bag is apprehended? Where is the remorse part that would possibly prevent this puke from killing inniocent people, shooting innocent people, victimiziing innocent people and attempting to kill law enforcement attempting to arrest this guiy?
    A poster boy for capital punishment.
    This insanity b.s. has to stop, know the difference between right and wrong? That is the litnus test for the insanity defense.

  8. kenneth Ng says:

    I would like to see him doing us a favor by killing himself. There is no need to place him on suicide watch. I agree with JR.

  9. Krista Drakonyan says:

    Do us all a HUGE favor, let him off himself! He’s probably doing it as a show to add to insanity/mental instability defense. Give him a rope, a razor, plastic bag, whatever and tell him “go for it” see if he’s serious. If he is great if not…called his bluff. Unfortunately as a LEGAL LAW ABIDING Taxpayer, I have no say where the taxes I pay are spent. Remorse my foot! Where was the remorse and “humanity” while he hurt and murdered people? The “pity train” needs to STOP NOW. If we continue to let these guys get a slap on the wrist and parole…we’re setting ourselves up for worse in the future!

  10. WHOA says:

    Cool, “Suicide Watch” I will watch him commit suicide!!! I will make sure nobody stops him!

  11. JaneQPublic says:

    He’s on suicide watch?


    Give him “3 hots & a cot” – and ditch the ‘watch’. Save us all some money.

  12. HUMANITY MY A_SS says:

    Right on Krista. My love one working at the Plant and my blood boiled after I heard the news. For those of you getting away with murder by plead guilty of INSANITY/MENTAL instability. F_CK YOU AND YOUR LAWYER!. YOU DESERVE TO DIE! Humanity my ASS!

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