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Attorney for Guam murder suspect says case against client does not add up

HAGATNA, Guam - The case against a 31-year-old Guam man who is charged in the death of a toddler client doesn't add up, his attorney said.

John Jesse Castro faces charges of aggravated murder and assault. Bail is set at $1 million.

His attorney, Curtis Van de Veld, said there is no probable cause to indicate that Castro was responsible for the death of the 23-month-old Yigo girl, Pacific Daily News (http://is.gd/9Eflqe) reported Thursday.

Van de Veld said the autopsy found contusions on the back of the child's head that occurred several days before the victim was brought to the hospital Jan. 11. The child was left in Castro's care the night of Jan. 10. Van de Veld said the complaint didn't say when other injuries on the child, such as a ruptured intestine, occurred.

In a court proceeding Wednesday, Assistant Attorney General Jesse Nasis said "several days" referred to the period before the autopsy was performed Monday.

Van de Veld said he plans to request the autopsy report and all other evidence in the possession of prosecutors. As it stands, however, the evidence doesn't point to his client being responsible, he said.

Van de Veld's objection was overruled by Magistrate Judge Alberto Tolentino.

The defence attorney said he plans to raise the issue again at an upcoming bail hearing before another judge.

The $1 million cash bail was requested by Nasis.

"This case involved the death of a 23-month-old baby under extremely distressing circumstances," he said.

Van de Veld said the bail request was grandstanding.

"A man who has no money can't even afford a $10,000 cash bail," he said. "Asking for $1 million is absurd."

Tolentino agreed with the prosecutor's request. The judge said the bail takes into consideration the severity of the charges.

Authorities say the baby's mother found bruises on the child after she was watched by Castro. He told the mother he had massaged the child because she was complaining of pain, according to court papers.

Castro also reportedly told authorities the girl had fallen and bumped her head.

___

Information from: Pacific Daily News: http://www.guampdn.com

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