Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Son of murdered woman opposes death penalty

by Marcy Martinez
posted on ValleyCentral.com on May 2nd

In 1991, Chris Castillo had to bury his 52 year old mother Pilar.

The Brownsville registered nurse had moved to Houston where she was the President of the Mexican American Chamber of Commerce and served on a review board for the Houston Police Department.

Chris drove from Beaumont to Houston to find out that his mom had been brutally murdered inside her home..

"She was strangled to death in her bed and one of the things they did was they robbed the home and they had her sign some checks so she knew what was going on," said Castillo.

His mom's murder case has gone cold with the alleged killers fleeing the country possibly back to Honduras, but if they are ever found , Chris does not want them to be executed.

He's in his mom's hometown of Brownsville speaking out against the death penalty.

"It costs 2 to 3 times more to execute somebody on death row, versus, life in prison and I'd like to see that money spent on cold cases and victims rights and services."

Chris went through years of depression after his mom's murder and then found an escape, mentoring inmates in prison.

"It really changed the hatred inside of me to peace, and that's all I can do so that I can live day by day."

Now he spends his days telling his mother's story as part of the Texas Coalition to Abolish The Death Penalty in hopes of getting more people to see as he does, that taking another life is not going to bring Pilar back, and will only make more people suffer as he did.

It's something he believes his mom would have encouraged, that's to be a survivor and not a victim.

"I think she was for righteousness."

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