Fanciful stories not backed by evidence should not exonerate the man accused of gunning down another man following a University of Arizona football game in 2011, the prosecutor told jurors.
Deputy Pima County Attorney Julie Sottosanti said the nearly five days of testimony should be enough for a jury to convict Juan Carlos Gil, 26, of first-degree murder in the killing of Francisco Antonio Gastelo in September 2011.
“There isn’t any doubt that he meant to kill,” Sottosanti said in closing arguments Tuesday.
Gastelo, 35, was shot and killed in a parking lot near the UA after a football game. Eyewitnesses testified that two assailants advanced on Gastelo and opened fire on him, with one gunman driving away in his car. The second suspect has not been identified.
Sottosanti reminded jurors of the evidence she said implicates Gil in the shooting, including the defendant’s DNA on the murder weapon and a truck seen driving away from the scene of the crime.
She also told the jury that police testimony showed Gil had Gastelo’s car after the killing.
Police recordings of phone conversations Gil had in the days after the shooting show he tried to get people to refuse to cooperate with police, change their stories or help him dispose of evidence, Sottosanti said.
“He spent all his time calling people and telling them to shut their mouths, hide evidence or practice black magic,” Sottosanti said.
The last comment was in reference to a Santeria practitioner to whom Gil gave Gastelo’s keys in order to cast a protective spell on them. Gastelo’s car key, however, was never found.
Defense attorney Joel Chorny said the keys represented the truth about who killed Gastelo.
“They haven’t found that key, and Francisco Gastelo’s murderers are out there laughing because they got away with it,” Chorny said.
Chorny told they jury his client’s DNA was on the gun and other items because the real killers gave them to Gil.
“Juan knows who did this horrific thing, but he also knows what happens to snitches,” he said.
Chorny also downplayed testimony of how Gil boasted to people that he committed the crime, saying Gil was known to make up similar stories and wanted to earn a reputation as a tough guy.
Gil also faces armed robbery, aggravated robbery, theft of a means of transportation and possession of a deadly weapon by a prohibited possessor charges.