Conviction Upheld In 1997 Killing Of Estherville, Iowa Teen
Date posted - September 17, 2012
Minneapolis, MN — The Minnesota Court of Appeals has upheld the conviction of the man who is accused of ordering the gang-style slaying of northwest Iowa teenager Gregory “Sky” Erickson in a southern Minnesota farmhouse in 1997.
After the crime, authorities say Juan Humberto Castillo-Alverez of Estherville originally fled to Mexico, but Iowa authorities were eventually able to try him in 2004 — only to have the verdict called back because the defense claimed he didn’t get a speedy trial. The prosecution argued that was his own fault since he fled to Mexico.
Minnesota authorities then decided to try Castillo-Alverez, since the crime happened on a rural Petersberg farm in Jackson County. The body was discovered in an abandoned farmhouse in June, 1997, after Erickson was kidnapped from Spencer over an alleged drug debt.
In January of 2011, a Jackson County, Minnesota jury convicted 43-year-old Juan Humberto Castillo-Alvarez of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and felony kidnapping. In May of 2011, he was sentenced to 40 years in prison.
The Minnesota Court of Appeals has ruled that since Castillo-Alverez’s Iowa conviction was reversed on appeal for issues unrelated to having sufficient evidence, it was not against Minnesota law to prosecute him a second time for the same conduct. The court says because Castillo-Alvarez’s Iowa conviction was reversed, and the case dismissed, the conviction is a “legal nullity” and the law does not prevent prosecution in Minnesota.
Nine other people were charged, with many of them being convicted and serving time.
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