Airman sentenced to 18 months for abusing pregnant wife
May 6, 2006
KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa — A senior airman here was sentenced to 18 months of confinement and reduced to E-1 Thursday after pleading guilty to several charges of domestic violence.
Senior Airman David L. Castro was charged in a general court-martial with four counts of assaulting his wife, Amy Castro, plus charges of threatening her and violating a command order to have no contact with her.
The judge, Col. Steven Hatfield, credited Castro with 77 days of pretrial confinement. Castro had faced a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a dishonorable discharge. Prosecutors asked for a five-year sentence and the dishonorable discharge.
During questioning, Castro admitted assaulting his wife numerous times from last November to February, including throwing her against a wall, head-butting her, pushing her to the ground several times and sitting on her, and holding her in their bathtub while running the shower on her. One time, he said, his wife screamed so loud that he placed his hands over her mouth, pinned her down, and grabbed her neck, “causing her to choke momentarily.”
He also admitted that he threatened to punch her in the stomach in an attempt to cause a miscarriage. According to testimony, the first incident occurred in temporary quarters just after they arrived on Okinawa and the violence continued after they moved to tower apartments on Camp Foster.
The couple met in Arizona while he was home on leave from Kunsan Air Base, South Korea. They married in July and did not live together until they arrived on Okinawa.
That’s when her husband began to show his “true nature,” prosecutors said.
Amy Castro said that despite a court order for him to not contact her, he called her from the brig to tell her he thought he was HIV positive — which turned out to be false. During the conversation he apologized, she said.
She said she feared for her life and the life of her unborn baby when he is released. She said she plans to file for divorce when she goes home to Arizona.
Her father, Stanley White, an Arizona National Guard lieutenant colonel, said Castro’s family members, who also live in Arizona, have threatened his family.
In an unsworn statement, Castro wept and apologized.
“I accept that I’ve done wrong,” he said. “I have to live with the shame of what I’ve done.”
He claimed to still love his wife and wished for reconciliation.
“Being away from her every day while she’s pregnant is killing me,” he said. “I wish this was all a dream. I don’t know if my wife would have me back but I want to be a good father.”
He begged the judge for a “second chance” and then broke into a wail, leaning against the podium with his head down and apologized to his wife. After his statement, he returned to his seat, where he continued to cry, holding his head in his right hand.
Prosecutor Capt. L. Amber Brugnoli said Castro began to isolate his wife just after they arrived on Okinawa, making her quit her job and refusing to let her make friends or go to church. Early attempts to curb his actions failed, she said.
“He threatened to kill his own child — what kind of man threatens to kill his own child just to hurt his wife?” she asked.
Defense counsel Capt Michael R. Bibbo, said Castro was not “a monster.”
“He’s not the bad person the trial counsel makes him out to be,” he said. “Nobody condones the assaults or threats but he’s apologized.”
He stressed that Castro’s wife never was seriously injured.
Bibbo asked that Castro be allowed to remain in the Air Force so he could support his child, which is due in October.
“In all likelihood, they won’t reconcile,” he said. “But he’s going to be a father for the rest of his life. We request you don’t send him back to square one.”