We Think: On Pearson, Castillo and Roberts

We Think: On Pearson, Castillo and Roberts

June 28, 2016.

Two high profile criminal cases were decided last week as Loudoun’s courts made clear that the rule of law stands tall, and a third resulted in a guilty plea.

There’s no home here for public corruption, embezzlement and those like Frank Pearson who might undermine our faith in law enforcement. Caught in an internal investigation by the Sheriff’s Office, Pearson could only mount a claim of amnesia. It didn’t persuade the jury, which in March found him guilty of embezzling some $229,387 from the Sheriff’s asset forfeiture fund that he managed – a tricky scheme to steal that he (nearly) mastered over a period of years. Last week, Pearson was sentenced to 36 months in federal prison and ordered to pay back the money.

There’s also no home here for murderers like Braulio Castillo. Jurors concluded that IT executive Castillo was guilty of the murder of his estranged wife Michelle in their Ashburn home, and were unpersuaded by his defense that she had committed suicide. Last week they sentenced Castillo to life in prison, plus 16 years.

And this week, Anthony Roberts pled guilty to four criminal counts, including the capital murder of William Bennett of Lansdowne in 2009. He took this plea or face the death penalty.

In America, everyone is entitled to a presumption of innocence but not every criminal is brought to justice. In Loudoun County, we’re fortunate to have dedicated professionals in the Sheriff’s Office and Office of Commonwealth’s Attorney to make sure that those who commit heinous crimes are apprehended, prosecuted and punished to the full extent of the law.

To those professionals we say thanks.