Jury finds man guilty of killing woman with machete, ax

Rafael Castillo faces up to life in prison

A jury is deliberating in the trial of a man accused of brutally murdering a woman with a machete and an ax in front of her boyfriend and a roommate.

SAN ANTONIO – A jury returned a guilty verdict after more than an hour of deliberation in the trial of a man accused of brutally murdering a woman with a machete and an ax in front of her boyfriend and two roommates.

Rafael Castillo is charged with murder in the 2020 death of Nicole Perry.

Perry’s body, which was wrapped inside a black trash bag, was found by a Public Works Department crew assigned to clean up trash along the 9200 block of South W.W. White Road.

According to testimony, Perry and her boyfriend, Randall Fulghum, lived with three others in a small room at the back of a property in the 300 block of West Harlan Avenue.

**Warning: This story contains graphic details.

Fulghum testified that the attack on Perry came after Castillo warned Perry to stop mouthing off to him.

“He started taping up her hands, and then he grabbed a machete,” Fulghum testified.

Fulghum told the jury that Castillo swung the machete three times, severing Perry’s hands, and then he grabbed an ax.

“He grabbed a black ax, swung it and buried it in her skull,” Fulghum said.

Roommate Vanessa Vargas testified that she also witnessed the murder.

“I saw it all,” Vargas said.

Vargas and Fulghum testified that Castillo forced them to clean up Perry’s body afterward.

Fulgham told jurors that he removed the ax from Perry’s body, put her in a bin, put her hands in a crockpot and cleaned up the blood.

The punishment phase of the trial begins at 10 a.m. Wednesday. Castillo faces anywhere from 5 to 99 years or life in prison.

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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.

Before starting at KSAT in August 2011, Ken was a news photographer at KENS. Before that he was a news photographer at KVDA TV in San Antonio. Ken graduated from San Antonio College with an associate's degree in Radio, TV and Film. Ken has won a Sun Coast Emmy and four Lone Star Emmys. Ken has been in the TV industry since 1994.