Castrillo’s lawyer calls for new trial, citing photo posted by Baby Favi’s mom

Castrillo’s lawyer calls for new trial, citing photo posted by Baby Favi’s mom


The attorney for a man convicted of killing 2-year-old Faviola Rodriguez requested a new trial Friday after citing the discovery of new medical evidence that may cast doubt on the nature of her death.

The motion comes a week after a jury convicted Lalo Anthony Castrillo IV, 28, on one count of intentional abuse of a child resulting in death. The crime comes with a life sentence.

During the five-day trial, prosecutors accused Castrillo of killing Baby Favi, as the community has come to know her, and presented medical evidence suggesting she suffered blunt force trauma caused by a person.

Castrillo was the only person with Baby Favi the night of her death and, according to phone records presented during the trial, searched “cariogenic shock,” “how to get blood pumping when a child is in shock,” and “child chokes on throw-up during sleep” before calling police.

Photo on Facebook could mean a new trial

Castrillo’s defense pushed back on the medical evidence by presenting a retired medical examiner during the trial who said that the manner of death was impossible to determine. The defense also raised the possibility that Baby Favi sustained a head injury at a park before she died.

Castrillo’s attorney, Jose Coronado, doubled down on that theory in the retrial request. In the motion requesting a new trial, Coronado pointed to a photo posted on Facebook by Baby Favi’s mother, Saundra Gonzales, the day the trial ended. Coronado said the photo shows Favi with a bruise on her head.

That would contradict the testimony of Gonzales and a nurse practitioner who examined Favi hours before her death, according to Coronado’s motion. Both said Favi showed no bruises the day before her death.

A review of Gonzales’ public Facebook page shows she posted two photos of Favi, one the day before the trial ended and one the day after.

The first photo is of Favi at Unidad Park (sometimes called Wooden Park), and the second is of her sitting on a box. The first photo is at the center of Coronado’s retrial request.

In the motion, Coronado alleges that Favi may have injured herself at Unidad Park and sustained a bruise that swelled until it pressured her brain and killed her days later.

Legal biases of a new trial

Ultimately, the decision for a new trial will be in the hands of Judge James Waylon Counts, who’s been given a mandate from the state Supreme Court to oversee this case.

For Counts to find that a new trial is warranted, state law says he must find that:

  • Newly discovered evidence could change the result.

  • The evidence was discoverable before the trial occurred.

  • The defense could not have discovered the evidence.

  • The evidence is material (meaning it reaches a degree of significance).

  • It’s not cumulative (meaning it does not repeat evidence already shown to the jury) and does not solely question the testimony of a witness.

Coronado specified he believes the photo meets those criteria.

“(The photo) substantiates the defense position that Faviola R. had fallen before; it substantiates the defense position that on September 5 or 6, 2018, Mr. Castrillo did not cause the contusion in (the photo),” Coronado said.

Coronado adds that there was no way of knowing the photo existed because Gonzales did not turn it over to prosecutors as potential evidence. The photo at Unidad Park was posted on Aug. 31, the day before the trial ended, and appears to have never been posted.

When might the hearing to decide a retrial occur?

Counts has not set a hearing date to determine if he will allow a new trial as of the publication of this article. However, the hearing will likely occur before a sentencing hearing set for Sept. 19. If no new trial occurs, Castrillo could face life in prison. He would be eligible for parole after 30 years.

The Sun-News reached out to the District Attorney’s Office for comment and is awaiting a response. Coronado declined to comment, stating that he feels the motion speaks for itself.

Justin Garcia is a public safety reporter for the Las Cruces Sun-News. He can be reached at [email protected].

This article originally appeared on Las Cruces Sun-News: Castrillo’s lawyer calls for new trial after photo posted of Baby Favi