Judge refuses to lower bond for man charged with beating pregnant girlfriend

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A 19-year-old man charged with assaulting his pregnant girlfriend over the course of three days in April 2018 while holding her captive in their New London apartment asked a New London Superior Court judge Monday to lower his bond so that he could get out of jail.

But Judge Hillary B. Strackbein denied Samuel L. Castillo's motion for a bond reduction, citing the seriousness of the charges and the mandatory minimum sentence of one year in prison for those convicted of assaulting a pregnant person.  

Castillo has been being held in lieu of $200,000 at the Manson Youth Institution since city police charged him April 23 with second-degree kidnapping, second-degree assault of a pregnant person, second-degree strangulation and second-degree threatening.

Attorney M. Fred DeCaprio argued on Castillo's behalf that he has no criminal record as an adult, is not a flight risk because he has a large family in Hartford, where he had lived his entire life until moving in last year with his girlfriend, and has a job history.

State's Attorney Michael L. Regan told the judge that until Monday, Castillo had refused to be fingerprinted. New London police charged him with refusing to submit to fingerprints. Now that Castillo has complied, Regan said the fingerprints would be sent to the State Police Bureau of Identification to verify his identity.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit, the unidentified victim, who was eight months pregnant, arrived at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford at 10:30 a.m. on April 20 with the left side of her face and lips swollen as if she had been punched repeatedly. She told staff she was mugged by three women at a gas station in West Hartford. The staff didn't believe her, and eventually she told a nurse her boyfriend assaulted her.

The woman said Castillo attacked her because he had convinced himself she was cheating on him. She said he punched her in the face, pointed a butcher knife at her and suffocated her with a pillow after she attempted to called for help.

She said in order to make sure she could not run away from him, he told her to strip off her clothes. Then, she said, he told her to get dressed and get into their rental car. While driving, he continued to punch the left side of her face as she sat in the passenger seat. 

The woman said Castillo refused to bring her to the hospital, so she urinated on herself to make it seem like her water broke. He still refused, but dropped her off at the emergency room after she pretended she was losing consciousness. Once she was in the hospital, the staff said Castillo called her repeatedly and told her to leave the hospital. The nurse reported the woman was so terrified of Castillo that she got dressed and was ready to leave when staff intervened, told her she didn't have to comply with his demands and promised to get her help.

She said she had been to the emergency room at another hospital recently for an injury he had inflicted and had written, "Help Me" on her leg with the hope that staff would see it, but nobody mentioned it. 

Neighbors reported the couple moved into the home seven months ago and that they often heard Castillo yelling and the woman saying, "I am sorry."

Castillo's next court date is Oct. 5.




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