A 66-year-old retired teacher is expected Friday to accept a plea deal in a cold-case double murder in Huntington Beach in 1994.
Lamberto Ricci Castillo is expected to receive a shorter sentence for admitting gunning down two men.
In an August hearing, Senior Deputy District Attorney Keith Burke told Orange County Superior Court Judge Kimberly Menninger prosecutors would no longer consider the death penalty in the case. Burke also told the judge that prosecutors were working to settle the case before trial.
Castillo, of Alamosa, Colorado, is charged with two counts of murder with special circumstance allegations of multiple murders. He was charged in April 2017 with killing Kenny Paul Sommer and Chen “Cosmo” Maui Blanchard, both 23, on March 31, 1994, in downtown Huntington Beach.
Castillo allegedly confronted the victims about 9:30 p.m. as they were urinating near Main Street and Orange Avenue, touching off an argument among the three. Castillo left and returned about 10:15 p.m. with a gun, then allegedly shot both multiple times before fleeing, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
Colorado police called Huntington Beach investigators in 2016, identifying Castillo and his wife as possibly being involved in the argument with the two victims prior to the shooting, according to Huntington Beach police Officer Jennifer Marlatt.
Investigators did not elaborate on what tipped Colorado police to suspect Castillo, who was not with his wife at the time of the shooting, police said.
The Castillos are both retired teachers. The defendant was teaching at an Orange County high school at the time of the shootings, police said.