FRESNO, Calif. (AP) - A state appeals court has reduced the prison sentence of a central California teenager convicted of molesting and drowning his 4-year-old neighbor and then hiding the boy's body in a clothes dryer.
The 5th District Court of Appeal ruled that the trial judge erred in adding eight years to Raul Castro's sentence for his sex-crime convictions. The Mendota teen was convicted of forcible sodomy on a child and a forcible lewd act on a child in addition to first-degree murder in the 2009 slaying of Alex Mercado.
Authorities say Castro, then 14, drowned the preschooler in a bathtub after Mercado said he would tell his mother about the sexual assault.
The Fresno Bee reports that the appeals court reduced Castro's sentence last week from 33 years- to-life to 25 years-to-life in prison.
The Associated Press