OGDEN — A South Ogden man was given a prison term Wednesday morning after being sentenced on assault and burglary charges.
Diego Gerardo Castro, 27, was sentenced to serve at least the next five years in a Utah state prison. Castro was sentenced to a term of five years to life in prison for a first-degree felony charge of aggravated burglary; and a term of one to 15 years in prison for a second-degree felony charge of aggravated assault. He was also given two terms of 364 days in jail for two counts of sexual battery, a class A misdemeanor.
Castro’s sentences were ordered to run concurrently, meaning each term will be served at the same time.
In May, Castro entered into a plea agreement and pleaded guilty to the four aforementioned charges. In return, three felonies were dismissed, which consisted of two counts of aggravated kidnapping and one count of aggravated robbery, all first-degree felonies.
Prior to his plea, three felony charges were dropped after a judge ruled in a September 2018 preliminary hearing there was not enough evidence to meet the low burden of proof needed to bind over the charges for future hearings.
Castro was arrested in April 2018 after three witnesses told police that Castro attacked and stabbed a man during a house party and Castro held them at knifepoint and refused to let them leave. One woman told police she “thought she was going to die,” according to the probable cause statement.
On Wednesday, Castro was not in custody and appeared in court with his attorney, Jason Widdison. He said there was “no excuse for Mr. Castro’s actions,” and that the 27-year-old has recently been taking anger management classes.
Widdison said that Castro was “severely intoxicated” on the night of the incident, which Widdison described as an “outburst fueled by alcohol.” He argued that Castro is not a violent person, and cited a handful of character letters sent to the court on Castro’s behalf. Widdison went on to ask for a sentence of jail then probation for Castro, saying that since he posted bail, Castro has been taking steps to address his anger problems and substance abuse.
When allowed to address the court, Castro tearfully expressed his remorse, saying he felt awful for his actions. He apologized to the families impacted by his actions.
“I know I was headed in the wrong direction,” Castro said. “I want to do better.”
Deputy Weber County Attorney Thomas Pedersen told the court the victim — who was stabbed six times during the attack — was lucky to be alive.
“I think that alone is enough to send him to prison,” Pedersen said.
He also pointed out that since Castro was arrested for the assault, he was charged with two misdemeanor sexual battery cases.
One charge occurred when Castro was in custody and was about to be taken to the district courthouse in Ogden. Charging documents say that while Castro was in a transport hallway waiting to be taken to the courthouse, he asked to touch another inmate’s buttocks and later pulled out his genitals to show the inmate “how happy she had made him.”
The other charge was filed after Castro approached a girl under the age of 18 while she was walking to school. Castro drove up beside her and asked for her phone number and later said he had marijuana at his house if she wanted to smoke with him. He then got out of his vehicle, ran up to her, grabbed her then proceeded to kiss her. As the girl tried to walk away, he followed her and grabbed her buttocks, according to charging documents. The girl was later able to get away and reported the incident to police.
During the Wednesday hearing, Judge Ernie Jones told Castro that the stabbing victim was lucky to be alive, and said the three cases were filed in a short period of time. He said that Castro’s violent and predatory behavior is “a threat to public safety.”
Jones then sentenced Castro to prison, prompting tears to well in his eyes as he was handcuffed and led away from the court.
Castro will be transferred to the custody of the Utah Department of Corrections, where he will serve his sentence at the Utah state prison.