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Ventura County

Man Pleads Not Guilty to Killing Live-In Girlfriend

Hearing: The murder suspect was arrested in December after he was found on a cliff near where authorities discovered body parts floating in the ocean.

January 11, 2002|TIMOTHY HUGHES | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A 37-year-old tile setter pleaded not guilty Thursday to a charge of murder for allegedly chopping up his live-in girlfriend and dumping her remains into the ocean near Point Mugu.

Alfonso Castillo nodded his head but said nothing as his attorney, Deputy Public Defender Doug Daily, spoke to him.

Superior Court Judge Vincent O'Neil set a preliminary hearing in the case for Feb. 26.

The Panorama City resident is accused of killing Maria Guadalupe Pinaloza Ambrio, 34. He is being held at Ventura County Jail in lieu of $1-million bail.

Castillo was arrested early Dec. 6 on a dark stretch of Pacific Coast Highway just south of Mugu Rock.

A sheriff's deputy patrolling the area noticed Castillo's Ford Ranger parked illegally along a gravel strip at the edge of a cliff leading down to the ocean.

A deputy who confronted Castillo as he climbed up the rocky slope said the suspect was covered with blood. Castillo did not object when deputies asked to search his truck, but tried to escape when they noticed blood in the vehicle, officials said.

As Castillo sat handcuffed on some rocks, deputies shone flashlights on the churning surf and saw limbs and other body parts bobbing in the waves.

Sheriff's search-and-rescue teams and a Coast Guard cutter searched the water off Mugu Rock the next day but turned up no weapon at the scene and few additional clues in the case, authorities said.

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