A rapper faces life in prison after a Spokane jury convicted him of murder Thursday.
John A. Castro, who goes by the name Lil Danger, shot and killed Moses Lake rapper Jose A. “Junior” Solis Jr. during an altercation at the Quality Inn in downtown Spokane in November 2011. Solis was shot once in the chest.
The conviction amounts to a third strike for Castro, who has two previous violent convictions. He faces a mandatory life sentence without parole.
He was convicted Thursday of second-degree murder, felony riot and unlawful possession of a firearm. The jury began deliberating around lunchtime and delivered the verdict at 5 p.m.
Defense attorney Anna Nordtvedt said she was surprised at the verdict.
“I just thought that there wasn’t enough (evidence),” Nordtvedt said. She added there was no gun visible on the security video, which she thought would help Castro’s case.
The defense is planning to appeal, she said. “He’s looking at life without parole.”
Deputy Prosecutor Steve Garvin said only that he was “very satisfied” with the verdict.
About a dozen sheriff’s deputies lined the middle of the courtroom and stood outside for the verdict, separating friends and family of Castro and Solis. Deputies escorted each group out of the building and stood guard at the courthouse until both parties were gone.
Castro did not react to the verdict, but a few minutes later turned around with tears in his eyes. People on both sides of the room gasped at the reading of the verdict.