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Jury deadlocked in murder trial

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The trial of a man charged with murder in the 2017 death of his wife ended Wednesday with jurors deadlocked.

Matt Baca, chief counsel for the State of New Mexico Office of the Attorney General, which was prosecuting the case, said jurors could not all agree on whether or not 59-year-old Castulo Michael Aragon was guilty of first-degree murder, willful and deliberate, and three counts of tampering with evidence in connection with the death of his wife Maria Aragon, 49.

He said that the Attorney General’s Office intends to refile the case in New Mexico’s 5th Judicial District Court for a new trial.

“We are grateful to the jury members for their service, and while we are disappointed they were unable to reach a verdict, we will refile the case and continue to seek justice for the victim’s family,” Baca said. Aragon will remain incarcerated while he awaits trial.

Richard Pugh, Aragon’s attorney, did not respond to a request for comment before press time Friday.

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Aragon’s trial began June 14 and was initially scheduled to last until July 2, with 30 witnesses called by the state. Prosecutors also intended to use DNA, blood and physical evidence, as well as cell phone information and financial documents in making their case. They contend that on or about March 4, 2017 Castulo Aragon killed his wife and then disposed of her body along U.S. Highway 285, about 50 miles north of Roswell.

Maria Aragon’s body was discovered beaten, strangled and stabbed, with no shoes, alongside the highway on the morning of March 6, 2017.

Traces of Maria Aragon’s blood were allegedly found later that day in the laundry room of the Aragons’ 1700 block of West Alameda Street residence and in Maria Aragon’s white Honda CRV, which the prosecution contends Castulo Aragon used to dispose of the body. Police also later found blood-stained duct tape, newspaper and a bag in a trash can at a Seward Avenue trailer that Castulo Aragon had owned, according to prosecutors.

Castulo Aragon has professed his innocence in past interviews with the Roswell Daily Record, saying that he loved his wife very much and had nothing to do with her death, a point that was echoed by the defense during the trial.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or breakingnews@rdrnews.com.

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