Man sentenced to 15 years in Sultan gang slaying

  • By Jackson Holtz, Herald Writer
  • Tuesday, December 22, 2009 12:01am
  • Local NewsSultan

EVERETT — Angelina Reyes used to enjoy her teenage son’s humor, his contagious smile and his love.

All that’s left of Antonio Marks, 17, are his cremated remains.

“Now, I go to him in a box. That’s where my baby is,” the teen’s mother said.

Marks was beaten and stabbed to death in a June 17 gang fight in Sultan.

A video surveillance camera captured the slaying on tape and shows Marks being kicked repeatedly in the head, then stabbed several times. The brutality lasted 43 seconds.

On Monday, the first of five defendants in the killing, Marco Castillo, 20, was sentenced to 15 years behind bars.

Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Ronald Castleberry called the violence brutal and senseless.

The fight was fueled by a gang rivalry that had been brewing for months, prosecutors said.

Castillo was the ringleader of a small gang based in Sultan. Marks ran with a rival gang from south Snohomish County and dated Castillo’s sister, deputy prosecutor Tobin Darrow said. Marks had gang tattoos and was wearing gang colors when he died.

Castillo and his brother, Adolfo Castillo, 17, admitted that they took part in the death and pleaded guilty in early December to second-degree murder.

Marks’ family pleaded with Castleberry on Monday to give Castillo the maximum possible sentence: life in prison.

Antonio Marks never had an opportunity to get a second chance, his brother, Michael Marks, told the court Monday. His killers took him down with the first punch, and he was unconscious when they kicked him in his head and Marco Castillo stabbed his prone body.

“I don’t feel like justice was served at all today,” said Lindsay Marks, his sister. “What’s 15 years?”

Antonio Marks was not in a gang, Reyes said.

“He was kind at heart. He had a heart of gold,” she said. He had a dream of being a father, loved his niece and wanted to finish his schooling.

They were disappointed at the judge’s decision but takes some comfort in knowing that Castillo “has another judgement day coming and that’s with God,” Reyes said.

When offered an opportunity to speak before being sentenced, Marco Castillo declined to address the court.

Laura Martin, Marco Castillo’s defense attorney, said her client committed a monstrous act, but deserved credit for taking responsibility.

When detectives interviewed him the morning following the attack, her client tried to shield the others and take all the blame, she said.

Maria Castillo, the defendant’s mother, asked the court for mercy. She spoke through an interpreter.

“He’s a good son,” she said. “I never expected an accident like this to happen.”

The video shows Marco Castillo knocking Marks to the ground and then punching him. The other four teenagers are seen kicking Marks in the head. Castillo then stabs Marks repeatedly in his chest.

Marks never moved from the time his head hit the asphalt.

Marco Castillo allegedly told investigators he didn’t intend to kill Marks but wanted to hurt him enough that he couldn’t retaliate.

His brother, Adolfo Castillo, is scheduled to sentenced today.

Also on Monday Ivette Rico, 18, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the killing. She and another codefendant, Jaime Santana, 16, both are scheduled to be sentenced in January. The youngest defendant, Ana Cary Ayala Bustos, 16, faces trial next year.

Meanwhile, the Marks’ family said they’ve been stymied in their effort to erect a memorial in Sultan, perhaps a bench bearing the teen’s name. Sultan Mayor Carolyn Eslick said she’s open to a memorial, as long as it doesn’t create safety problems.

Lindsay Marks, 25, said she spoke with her brother about an hour before he was killed. He told her he loved her, she said.

“This world is so bad, something has to change,” the sister remembers him saying. She’s still trying to figure out what his words meant.

Lindsay Marks said she is determined to ask for stiff penalties for the remaining four defendants. She wants to teach people in gangs that there are real consequences for taking a life.

“Murder is murder,” she said. “Nothing will make us feel better because nothing will bring him back.”

Reporter Jackson Holtz: 425-339-3437,

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