Cuban criminal gets life in America -- behind bars

Rafael Castillo-Sanchez was an outcast criminal from Cuba who spent years in prison when he was shipped by that country's communist regime to the United States. A Clark County jury has decided more time behind bars awaits the 59-year-old man.

Last week, a jury sentenced Castillo-Sanchez to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the Oct. 28, 2005, slaying of his wife.

Castillo-Sanchez will be sentenced on an assault with a deadly weapon count in November by Judge Donald Mosley.

Authorities said Castillo-Sanchez fatally stabbed 38-year-old Veronica Castillo 93 times after they argued in their apartment on the 4700 block of Nova Lane, near Lake Mead and Nellis boulevards.

During his three-week trial, Castillo-Sanchez testified that his eldest son, who shares his name, was the one who killed his wife.

Several of the couple's family members, including the defendant's children, testified against Castillo-Sanchez.

After deliberating about an hour, the jury found Castillo-Sanchez guilty of first-degree murder with use of a deadly weapon and assault with a deadly weapon.

A three-day penalty phase followed. According to court records, jurors considered several mitigating circumstances in deciding against the death penalty, including that Castillo-Sanchez suffered from delusional paranoid disorder, has a low IQ and has a heart condition.

Castillo-Sanchez was raised in Cuba, where he was a convicted criminal and imprisoned before the government deported him to the United States, according to court records.

Unable to return to Cuba and his family, Castillo-Sanchez spent time in a U.S. retention camp and sometimes was detained solely based on his immigration status, according to court records. He also has a history of drug abuse.

Prosecutor Tina Sedlock said, "We respect the jury's verdict" regarding the decision against capital punishment.

Special public defender Ivette Maningo said the case will be reviewed for a possible appeal of the guilty verdict.

Contact reporter Francis McCabe at or 702-380-1039.