HUNTINGTON BEACH (CBSLA.com/AP) — A 64-year-old Colorado man and former Santa Ana teacher accused of gunning down two young men in Huntington Beach in 1994 made his first appearance in Orange County Superior Court Monday on double-murder charges.
New evidence prompted Huntington Beach police to reopen the murder case last year. On April 27, authorities arrested Lamberto Ricci Castillo at his home in Alamosa, Colo.
Castillo is suspected of fatally shooting Chen “Cosmo” Blanchard and Kenny Sommer, both 23, as they were socializing on a street corner.
Castillo eventually waived extradition.
“I just accepted the fact that we were probably never gonna find out, and that Kenny’s in a better place, and that we’ll see him again, we’ll see Mo again,” Kenny Sommers’ sister, Alison Sommers-Castellanos, told reporters at a news conference Monday.
Castillo left Orange County several years ago to start a new life in Colorado, officials said.
“For the past 23 years, Lamberto Ricci Castillo has been living free in Colorado,” said Tony Rackaukas, Orange County District Attorney. “He might have been looking over his shoulder from time to time, but for the most part, he probably thought that he got away with it.”
In 2016, Huntington Beach police developed a lead that ended up cracking the case. Police reached out to the Orange County Cold Case Homicide Task Force to assist in the investigation.
Prosecutors claim Castillo and his wife, a former teacher in Los Angeles County, got into a confrontation with the victims as they were urinating near Main Street and Orange Avenue. An off-duty police officer witnessed the confrontation, but not the shooting, the district attorney’s Office said.
Castillo left, went home, grabbed a gun, and returned at about 10:15 p.m. He then allegedly shot both multiple times before fleeing, according to the district attorney’s office. Sommers and Blanchard died at the scene.
Arraignment for Castillo, who is being held without bail, was rescheduled to June 2.
If convicted he could face life in prison.
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