Man Charged With Murder In Santa Monica Teen’s Killing

SANTA MONICA (CBSLA.com) – A 42-year-old man was charged with murder Friday in connection with the shooting death of an 18-year-old Santa Monica man in February.

Santa Monica police report that Sherwin Mendoza Espinosa was charged with one count each of murder and felon in possession of a firearm in the killing of Juan Sebastian Castillo.

Just after 5 a.m. on Feb. 26, Castillo was found lying in the 1300 block of 16th Street — about a half-block from the UCLA Medical Center — with a gunshot wound to the head. He died at the scene.

In a news release Friday, police said that detectives determined that Castillo’s shooting had occurred more than four hours prior, at about 12:45 a.m., in the 2100 block of Pico Boulevard. His body was then dumped on 16th Street, investigators believe.

Castillo was an All-Star football player at Santa Monica High School, where he graduated in June of 2016. Immediately following the February killing, his family told CBS2 that Castillo was not a gang member.

A motive for the shooting was not confirmed. Santa Monica police were holding a news conference Friday afternoon to discuss the charges.

Espinosa was being held in Los Angeles County jail on $3 million bail.

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