Santa Monica
Traditional Reporting for A Digital Age

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark
2802 Santa Monica Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90404

Home Special Reports Archive Links The City Commerce About Contacts Editor Send PR

Santa Monica Man Found Guilty of Samohi Grad's Murder


Bob KronovetrealtyWe Love Property Management Headaches!

SMTT tourism and economy

Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP  law firm
Harding, Larmore
Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

By Jorge Casuso

August 22, 2018 -- A Santa Monica man faces 40 years to life in prison after being found guilty Tuesday of the murder of an 18-year-old Samohi graduate last year, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office announced.

Sherwin Mendoza Espinosa, 43, of Santa Monica was found guilty of one count of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Juan Castillo, also of Santa Monica.
Sherwin Mendoza Espinosa

Castillo was found at around 5 a.m. February 26, 2017 lying just outside the emergency room of UCLA Medical Center along 16th Street with a gunshot wound to the head.

Police determined he had been left there. Responding paramedics pronounced him dead.

Police investigators determined that Castillo was the victim of a reported shooting that same day at 12:45 a.m. on the 2100 block of Pico Boulevard, about a mile from where his body was found.

Witnesses and police said Castillo was wearing a football jersey with the number 88 and carrying his Santa Monica school identification card, according to a report in

Prosecutors said there had been a brief run-in between Espinosa and the victim before the suspect retrieved a gun from his car and shot Castillo, who was sitting in the passenger seat of a parked car.

D.A.’s office spokesman Ricardo Santiago told KTLA-TV that it did not appear Espinosa and Castillo knew each other.

"The shooting stemmed from a chance encounter and brief argument," according to the news report.

Shortly after the shooting, Castillo's father said his son was getting a ride home from a party when he was shot.

Nearly three months later, detectives arrested Espinosa, who was charged with one count of murder and two counts of being a felon in possession of a loaded firearm.

Investigators tracked the two cars using video taken from surveillance cameras and passing city buses, prosecutors said.

Castillo, who played football at Samohi, had graduated the previous summer. His number, 53, was retired.

Espinosa will return to court for sentencing on October 12.


Back to Lookout News copyrightCopyright 1999-2018 All Rights Reserved. EMAIL Disclosures