A birthday party turned deadly in September 2009 and ended in the shooting of a young woman, Paula Castillo. The case was brought to life again this morning at the trial of her alleged killers.
Castillo’s friends threw a party for her 18th birthday at 28 Hillis Road, which Ruben Sanchez,21, Miguel Vasquez,20, and Andres Brea, 21, attended. These three suspects engaged in a verbal argument with the party’s hostess and were asked to leave.
The suspects complied and left the party, but upon reaching Brea’s car, Sanchez pulled out a revolver and began firing shots at the house, with the other two suspects’ encouragement, according to Jennifer Hickman, assistant district attorney.
The shots hit Castillo, who was leaning out a window at 28 Hillis Road, who was found by police “lying on the ground in a pool of blood,” according to Hickman.
“It wasn’t supposed to end with the death of a young woman,” a Suffolk County prosecutor told the Superior Court this morning about the party.
An off duty police officer witnessed the incident from his nearby home and reported it to the District E-18 police station.
He recalled that “the shooter – Mr. Sanchez – get into that vehicle, observed the vehicle drive a short distance, make a U-turn, and stop in front of 28 Hillis Road for one final round let off from the front seat passenger,” according to prosecutors.
The officer did not see Castillo get shot.
Police were able to get accounts from witnesses at the party, which led to the arrests of the three suspects.
Officers found a revolver in the trunk of Brea’s car, and Sanchez tested positive for gunshot residue.
Sanchez is charged with second-degree murder, Vasquez is charged with assault by means of a dangerous weapon and Brea is charged with being an accessory after the fact to assault by means of a dangerous weapon.
All three defendants are also being charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition and unlawful possession of a loaded firearm