Suspect in Killing Implicated in Earlier Jail Escape Attempt

GRAND JUNCTION, COLORADO – A man being held at the Mesa County Jail without bond on first-degree murder charges is responsible for digging a makeshift tunnel in his cell last October while he was held on unrelated charges, according to prosecutors.

David Castro — one of three people being held without bond and awaiting trial in connection to the April 2018 death of Kyle Free — now faces an attempted escape charge for allegedly using a metal leg post from a bed frame to break up the concrete floor in his cell and dig in the dirt below. A hole in the concrete about two and a half feet across was discovered in Castro’s cell on Oct. 20 after jail deputies were tipped off, according to an affidavit for Castro’s arrest.

A thorough investigation was launched in the wake of the discovery of the jail cell damage, and Castro was formally advised of the attempted escape charge on Wednesday.

Investigators believe most of the digging was done after cell checks on Oct. 19, with some of the work to break up the concrete before that. The broken concrete was allegedly concealed from the inspecting deputy that day by a plastic bin, but when a search was initiated the next day after multiple tips about a hole being dug, deputies found piles of dirt and large rocks under two beds as well as elsewhere in the cell. Investigators estimated that more than a couple hundred pounds of dirt and rocks were piled up under the bunks.

Four men were assigned to Cell 5 in the jail’s Willow pod at the time, but Castro is alleged to have asked detention staff, “Who ratted me out?” while being escorted from the cell, according to his arrest affidavit.

Castro also was allegedly caught on a jailhouse phone call days later telling Rebecca Walker — who is alleged to have coordinated the killing of Kyle Free, for which both are being held on charges of first-degree murder — that he was the one “trying to escape” after the story of the jail damage hit the news.

Castro has two prior convictions for attempted escape in his criminal history, according to the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office.

All four men assigned to the cell — Castro, 32; Omar Olivas, 24; Jeffrey Pierce, 49; and Joshua Critchfield, 24 — refused to cooperate with investigators without a lawyer present. Castro is the only person charged so far in connection to the alleged escape plot, but investigators detailed in their affidavit for his arrest that all four men seemed to have knowledge of the operation.

By: Duffy Hayes

Published: January 11, 2019


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