Ex-girlfriend of man beaten to death heading to trial

HOLLAND, Mich. (WZZM) --The ex-girlfriend of a Park Township man who was beaten to death is now going to trial on murder charges.

In court Wednesday, the former roommate of Jose Hernandez, who admitted to killing Hernandez, testified that Maryann Castorena had planned the crime.

One piece of evidence, a ball joint remover, made a soft clunk on a wooden table in the courtroom. An eerie sound when coupled with the testimony from Anthony Delagarza. Prosecutors asked Delagarza if he murdered his former roommate, Jose Hernandez, and he responded, "Yes sir, I did."

Delagarza admitted that he used the ball joint remover to beat Hernandez to death. It was a sneak-attack outside his apartment on a snow-covered January night. Prosecutors asked what kind of force Delagarza used when hitting Hernandez in the head.

"I swung the ball joint remover as if I was swinging to hit a home run on the baseball field," Delagarza told the court.

Delagarza testified that the murder was planned by Maryann Castorena, the ex-girlfriend of Hernandez. In fact, Delagarza told the court she was the one who picked him up and dropped him off.

"She dropped me off right here at the dumpster on the corner," Delagarza testified.

Investigators also testified that they found a murder note in Castorena's backpack.

"It talked about wearing gloves, don't have anything in my pockets," Delagarza told the court.

However, the defense pointed out lies Delagarza had previously made to investigators, including that Hernandez was still alive after the beating. Castorena's defense attorney asked why Delagarza lied about that.

"I thought it would make it less bad, that I had not known he was dead," Delagarza responded.

Delagarza told the court that Castorena wanted to make sure he finished the job, so she could receive money from Herandez' life insurance policy.

"She told me if he turns into a vegetable she doesn't get any money and she needs the money," Delagarza testified.

Delagarza testified he was to be paid $50,000.

Delagarza had his charges reduced from first degree to second degree murder for testifying against Castorena. Castorena is facing charges of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and a new charge of solicitation of murder. Her next court hearing is on July 21st.


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