By Pariss Briggs
A maid who worked for Michelle Castillo said the Ashburn mother of five appeared sad in the days before her death.
Silvia Anaya took the stand Friday in the first-degree murder trial of Braulio M. Castillo. Her testimony supports the defense’s case that Michelle killed herself.
Braulio Castillo is accused of killing Michelle, his estranged wife, on March 19, 2014. Investigators believe he killed her in the master bedroom of the house, before moving her body to the basement to stage a hanging suicide. Michelle’s body was discovered the following day.
Defense attorneys called on the Castillo’s maid to testify. With help from a translator, Anaya said Michelle was sad in the days before her death. “Sometimes she was sad, sometimes she was happy,” she said. “On Tuesday I saw her sad. . .on Wednesday I saw her sad.”
Anaya continued, saying Michelle was very quiet at the dinner table that night, which was unlike her. “We usually had happy conversations,” Silvia said. “She was quiet; she didn’t really eat.”
She died the following day.
Silvia also told the jury Michelle had given her a jacket that she owned to wear as a gift. She noted Michelle had known she was fond of the jacket, but the act was unusual.
“She usually gave me gifts, but that was special because she liked that jacket very much,” she testified.
Before she ended her shift that night, Silvia said Michelle thanked her. “[Michelle said], Silvia, thank you very much for everything you do for us. Thank you very much for everything,” she told the jury in a shaky voice.
The defense also called Michelle’s mother, Judy, to the stand. Judy told the jury she stayed with Braulio Castillo in the weeks following her daughter’s death. “I had no other place to go,” she said.
Commonwealth Attorney Alex Rueda questioned Judy about a letter she had written in support of her son-in-law. “[I wrote it to show] how well he treated Michelle,” she said. “He’s never treated her bad.”
The trial was scheduled to end today, but it is now expected to stretch into next week. Two jurors were dismissed from the case today due to scheduling conflicts, leaving one alternate remaining.