‘I saw it all’: More eyewitness testimony in trial of man accused in brutal murder

Rafael Castillo faces up to life in prison if found guilty

Another eyewitness took the stand on Friday in the trial of a man accused of brutally murdering a woman in 2020.

SAN ANTONIO – Another eyewitness took the stand on Friday in the trial of a man accused of brutally murdering a woman in 2020.

Rafael Castillo is facing a murder charge in the death of Nicole Perry.

Perry’s body was found in November 2020 off South W.W. White Road by Bexar County Public Works employees.

Vanessa Vargas, who is currently in jail, testified Friday that she was in the same room the day Perry was killed.

Vargas and four others, including Perry and Castillo, were staying in a small room at the back of a property in the 300 block of West Harlan Avenue.

Vargas said she had just walked into the room when she saw Perry’s hands tied up, and then Castillo allegedly attacked her.

“I saw it all,” Vargas said. “He ended it with putting an ax to her skull.”

She said that Castillo forced her to help Perry’s boyfriend clean up afterward.

“I was beyond scared,” Vargas said.

Her testimony later came in question when Vargas said she never touched Castillo’s gun, but another witness to take the stand, Maggie Vela, claimed Vargas told her she held the weapon and was forced to point it at Perry’s boyfriend’s head.

“I didn’t think she was going to tell me that because I didn’t ask,” Vela said.

Vela lived in the main house on the same property where the murder took place. She said she didn’t witness Perry’s murder but saw Castillo the same night with blood on his shoes.

“He at first said it was Kool-aid and then ketchup,” Vela said.

Castillo’s trial will continue on Tuesday, and the jury is expected to deliberate next week.

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About the Authors:

Erica Hernandez is an Emmy award-winning journalist with15 years of experience in the broadcast news business. Erica has covered a wide array of stories all over Central and South Texas. She's currently the court reporter and cohost of the podcast South Texas Crime Stories.

Misael started at KSAT-TV as a photojournalist in 1987.