Split verdict in trial of police inspector

April 20, 2011 5:21:29 PM PDT
Jurors reached a split verdict in the case of a former high-ranking Philadelphia police official accused of scheming to hire strong-arm collectors to shake down a former business partner in a failed real estate deal.

The jury found Daniel Castro, a former inspector who aspired to be police commissioner, guilty of one count of lying to the FBI, but not guilty on one count of extortion.

The jury was deadlocked, however, on eight other charges.

Castro faces up to five years in jail on the one guilty count, but his lawyer says he doesn't think he'll get any jail time on that one charge.

The jury came back to the court room with their decisions just before 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Castro was secretly recorded by a government informant who he asked to help collect $90,000 he lost on the failed real estate deal.

Castro previously testified that he approved the use of a debt collector who would use violence to recover the money, calling it the biggest mistake of his life.

His lawyer argued he was entrapped by the government and most of the jurors agreed.

"I think that he was entrapped in the extortion and I think the things that followed were based on the government pushing it to be that way," juror Laura Anema said.

"I think he was a good man, 25 years on the police force, he was owed a debt for four years, never went after it until a government informant came to him," juror Jason Evans said.

Castro was a rising star in the police department and dreamed of someday becoming Commissioner.

The 47-year-old Castro headed the department's traffic division prior to his arrest in November.

His 25 year career is now in ruins.

"They took a man who had 25 years in dedicated service to the system and they took his life away," defense attorney Brian McMonagle said.

The jurors say Castro's tearful testimony had a big impact.

Some say they wanted to cry too when he broke down on the stand.

"You're making me look like a crook, I'm not a crook, I was a good guy, you're making that crook look like a good guy, he robbed from me," Castro said at the trial.

RELATED: Read more about Castro's testimony

The government says it respects the jury's decision.

But with a mistrial declared on the eight counts the jury couldn't decide on, they still have the option of another trial.

"We have to go back and discuss it and decide what we're going to do from there," Assistant U.S. Attorney Lou Lappen said.


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