Indictment dropped against martial artist accused of murder

Posted: June 20, 2014

AN ATLANTIC County judge has thrown out an indictment against a martial artist accused of killing an elderly veteran on Super Bowl Sunday in 2012, but prosecutors say they're going to take another crack at him.

Michael "Danger" Castro, 33, a muay thai kickboxer, was charged with shooting John Kingsbury, 77, twice in the head inside a home in rural Mullica Township on Feb. 5, 2012.

Castro was arrested 14 months after the shooting in Florida, where he had opened up a new martial-arts studio, and brought back to New Jersey, where he's been held on $800,000 bail.

Last month, Castro's lawyer, Doug Cody, filed a lengthy motion seeking to dismiss the indictment, alleging the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office and the lead investigator on the case, Sgt. Michael Mattioli, presented "false testimony and deceptive presentation" to a grand jury on July 3, 2013.

On Tuesday, Atlantic County Superior Court Judge Bernard DeLury tossed the indictment, without prejudice, saying Mattioli "provided inaccurate information" but determined that he wasn't being "willfully false." The ruling means the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office can still present the case to another grand jury, which it plans to do.

"We have reviewed the judge's decision. We are moving swiftly to correct those deficiencies that the court cited in its decision to dismiss the indictment," acting Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain said.

Cody declined to comment in detail yesterday, but said he was working to have Castro's bail lowered.

In the motion he filed last month, Cody suggested that evidence pointed to the possibility of third-party guilt in the case. Cody presented evidence that suggested Kingsbury's son, Glenn Kingsbury, had tampered with surveillance equipment at his home, shortly after he had found his father bleeding on the floor there.

Justin White, a lawyer representing Glenn Kingsbury in a civil suit, said the ruling was a setback.

"However, it must be remembered that Mr. Castro has not been found 'not guilty' or in any way exonerated. The criminal charges against him remain. He remains in custody," White said.

The gun used to shoot John Kingsbury belonged to a Camden County sheriff's officer. That officer, Lauren Kohl, told investigators that four people, including Castro, may have had access to the gun, but Mattioli only told the grand jury about Castro.

On Twitter: @JasonNark

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