Whittier man pleads not guilty to fatal shooting of girlfriend – California News

Whittier man pleads not guilty to fatal shooting of girlfriend – California News

A Whittier man on Thursday denied fatally shooting his girlfriend in the head.

Los Angeles County District Attorney spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said Rafael Ayala Castillo, 56, pleaded not guilty to the murder of 54-year-old Sandra Polanco during his arraignment at Bellflower Superior Court.

She said the judge granted the prosecution’s request to set bail at $3 million.

Castillo’s next court date is Sept. 28 for a hearing at Norwalk Superior Court.

The D.A.’s Office on Thursday charged Castillo with the Sept. 12 murder of Polanco. He was also charged with the special allegation that he personally and intentionally discharged a firearm, which caused great bodily injury and death to Polanco.

If convicted as charged, Ardalani said Castillo faces a possible maximum sentence of 50 years to life in prison.

Castilo and Polanco were in a relationship for nearly 10 years and lived together in an apartment in the 11700 block of Floral Drive in Whittier, according to the prosecution in a statement.

On Tuesday, a relative of Polanco went to the apartment and discovered the Whittier woman had been shot in the head.

Whittier police headed to the scene after getting a call of a “man down” at the apartment. Police later released a photo of Castillo and the Nissan Altima he drives and pleaded for the public’s help in finding him.

Castillo was arrested Tuesday night when Los Angeles Police pulled him over in Reseda.

He remains in custody.

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