Saratoga County District Attorney Karen A. Heggen reports that Joey M. Castro, dob 4/24/93 of Saratoga Springs, New York, was sentenced today by Saratoga County Court Judge James A. Murphy, III, following Castro’s conviction by a trial jury on October 22, 2018 of Assault in the First Degree, in violation of Penal Law §120.10(1), a class “B” violent felony, Criminal Use of a Firearm in the First Degree, in violation of Penal Law §265.09(1)(a), a class “B” violent felony, two counts of Reckless Endangerment in the First Degree, class “D” felonies, Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree, in violation of a class “D” violent felony and Failure to Register an Assault Rifle, by a Saratoga County Jury.
Defendant Joseph Castro was convicted following a three-week trial in October 2018. First Assistant District Attorney Alan M. Poremba, with the assistance of Assistant District Attorney Shawn Lescault, prosecuted the case. The prosecutors called over 25 witnesses to testify about the events in the Town of Moreau on October 8, 2017 that culminated the defendant shooting one victim in the back, causing him to suffer paralysis from the waist down. The defendant also sprayed a number of shots towards the other two victims at their home.
At today’s sentencing, Judge Murphy heard from the victim’s girlfriend and caregiver, noting how the split second actions on the night of the incident have changed forever the lives of the three victims. In a riveting victim impact statement, the victim’s girlfriend described to the Judge the harrowing experience they had on the night of the shooting:
When you started shooting at us in our garage I felt like I was in a horrible nightmare. I just froze, look at [my boyfriend] and had no idea what to do next or what was about to happen. We were both so scared. Neither [my boyfriend] or I have never been shot at before in our lives, but then again how many people really have by their neighbor. You changed that and you will never understand what we went through, still going through. So let’s take a step back to when I was running back into the garage from going to get my phone to call 911. As soon as I got out the door I watched [my boyfriend] get shot in the back and fall face first onto the garage floor. My heart was completely shattered. I ran to him so I could hold him as he started to bleed out. Do you know what it’s like to have to hold blood into someone you love? He had blood pouring out of his back. I couldn’t believe what was happening. When I was holding him I was telling him how much I love him and that everything was going to be okay. When I know that things were far from being okay. [My boyfriend] started telling me how warm he was getting and how it was becoming hard for him to breathe. As I sat there hold him on the phone with the 911 dispatcher his breath became shallow, I thought I was losing him. After almost 15 minutes of being on the phone with 911 and hearing [my boyfriend] groan in pain and holding his blood in, the ambulance finally got here and they came rushing in. I wanted to be able to go with him but I was not able to because he had to be flown down to Albany because things weren’t looking too good. Do you know what it’s like to have to watch the person you love be taken away when there is nothing you can do to help them and you can’t even go to be able to hold their hand?
The shooting victim provided a written statement that was read by First Assistant District Attorney Poremba describing how his life is forever changed. Mr. Poremba also addressed the court on behalf of the prosecution and recounted the devastating, life-long impact the defendant’s actions on October 8, 2017 have had on the victim and his family. ADA Poremba talked about the “life-sentence” to describe the injuries the defendant inflicted on the victim- injuries that have forever altered how he lives his life now in a wheelchair. Based upon the senseless, cowardly, abhorrent and permanent actions of the defendant, Poremba asked Judge Murphy to impose the maximum sentence for each conviction.
In imposing sentence today, Judge Murphy recounted the impact of the defendant’s actions on the victims. He noted the strength of those who provided victim impact statements and that he weighed all of the facts of this case in imposing the following, maximum sentences:
Assault in the First Degree, in violation of Penal Law §120.10(1), a class “B” violent felony: 25 years incarceration, with 5 years of post-release supervision;
Criminal Use of a Firearm in the First Degree, in violation of Penal Law §265.09(1)(a), a class “B” violent felony: 25 years incarceration, with 5 years of post-release supervision, to run concurrent with the Assault in the First Degree sentence;
Two counts of Reckless Endangerment in the First Degree, class “D” felonies: 2 1/3 to 7 years incarceration on each count, consecutive to each other and consecutive to the Assault in the First Degree and Criminal Use of a Firearm in the First Degree;
Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree, in violation of a class “D” violent felony: 7 years determinate incarceration, with 3 years of post-release supervision, to run consecutive to the Assault in the First Degree, Criminal Use of a Firearm sentences, as well as the Reckless Endangerment in the First Degree sentences;
Failure to Register an Assault Rifle, one-year incarceration, which merges with the other sentences. These sentences total a potential sentence range of 36 2/3 years to 46 years incarceration.
District Attorney Heggen commended the efforts of the all involved in the case. Heggen said “the strong work of the New York State Police and the many specialized units that provided the solid foundation for the thorough and complete case presented to the jury by ADAs Poremba and Lescault. Justice was served today when Judge Murphy imposed the significant sentence for defendant Castro, who with his senseless actions have forever affected the lives of his three victims.”