Sherwin Mendoza Espinosa

A 43-year-old man was convicted Tuesday in the murder of 18-year-old Juan Castillo, the Samohi graduate found shot to death last year. A jury found Sherwin Mendoza Espinosa guilty of second-degree murder. 

According to the Los Angeles County District Attorney, Espinosa faces 40 years to life in state prison. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 12 in Department W82 of the Los Angeles County Airport Courthouse.

Castillo played football at Samohi and graduated in 2016. His body was found by paramedics in the early morning of Feb. 26, 2017, near UCLA’s Santa Monica Medical Center with a single gunshot wound to his head. 

As previously reported by the Daily Press, detectives said they believed Castillo was sitting in a car on the 2100 block of Pico Boulevard with an acquaintance when he was shot by the 42-year-old suspect shortly before 1 a.m. early that Sunday. 

A spokesperson for the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office told the Daily Press that Castillo and Espinosa had a brief confrontation with each other before Espinosa ran to his car, retrieved his gun and shot Castillo.

Espinosa, a convicted felon, was arrested last year at a home in Baldwin Hills nearly three months after Castillo’s murder. At the time, he was in possession of an Uzi pistol, a weapon that matched the description of the gun used the night of the shooting. 

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