By GRACE WONG
BRENTWOOD, N.H. (Court TV) — On Thursday, Brandon Castiglione’s father testified that his son and Luis Garcia had a “pretty good” relationship. Mark Castiglione said they saw each other regularly for bible study and church services, and not long before the incident went shooting together.
The senior Castiglione said Garcia was at his house in Londonderry, New Hampshire on October 1, 2019, to paint some rooms. Garcia had been helping him with his home improvement project in the two to three weeks before he was fatally shot, allegedly by Brandon Castiglione. Police arrested Brandon and charged him with murder after finding him alone in a room with Garcia’s body and his handgun a few feet away.
Mark testified that he and Brandon had been attending the New England Pentecostal church, where Garcia was a minister, for about three years. Mark said Brandon and Garcia disagreed occasionally over the interpretation of scripture, but Brandon was soft-spoken and was not louder than anyone else when it came to expressing his views, however he conceded that his son was passionate about the word.
Mark said he called Garcia at about 9:30 am that day as he routinely did to check on how things were going. He said when Garcia didn’t answer, he tried his son, who also did not respond. Garcia did not go to his house every day but when he did, he usually got there early in the morning at about 8:00 am. Mark could not say whether Brandon let him into the house, but he did leave a key under a door mat for Garcia so he could let himself in. Mark testified that his front door was locked by a deadbolt, and the doorknob lock did not work.
Prosecutors contend Brandon shot Garcia, noting he was the only one in the house with the minister, and that a casing found at the crime scene was fired from the defendant’s own gun. A spent bullet could not be matched to the same gun but was consistent with similar ammunition found in a drawer in Brandon’s room.
Latent fingerprint examiner Rachel Martinez testified that two prints recovered from the Glock were identified as Brandon’s left thumbprint, however the criminalist could not date the print, and Mark’s father testified that Brandon had used the Glock when he went shooting with Garcia days before the incident.
The elder Castiglione’s testimony suggests that Brandon and Garcia were on good terms. Prosecutors concede they cannot advance a motive for the shooting, but the gun and Brandon’s presence at the crime scene points to him as the killer.
Defense attorneys contend their client is innocent, noting that police did not test for GSR on Brandon’s hands, nor did they test swabs taken from the trigger and other parts of the gun for touch DNA, even though they collected the evidence. Lynn Therriault, a firearms and tool marks examiner who testified for the state, could not match the spent bullet to Brandon’s gun, prompting defense attorneys to suggest that the bullet could have been fired from another gun.
Testimony resumes Friday with a New Hampshire State Trooper, and possibly the medical examiner.