Northern Virginia bureau chief Julie Carey
Northern Virginia bureau chief Julie Carey reports on the preliminary hearing for Braulio Castillo.
An Ashburn, Va. CEO accused of murder showed no reaction when a detective told him his wife was dead, according to court testimony last week.
Braulio Castillo was in court Thursday, on accusations he killed his estranged wife and tried to make her death look like a suicide.
He is charged with the first-degree murder of Michelle Castillo. The couple had five children together. At the time of Michelle Castillo's death, the couple had been going through a divorce, and she had obtained a protective order against him.
Police found her body hanging in a basement bathroom on the morning of March 20. Investigators say she was beaten and suffocated, then hanged in a basement shower to make the death look like a suicide.
Braulio Castillo was arrested 10 days later.
The courtroom was filled Thursday with Michelle Castillo's friends -- friends who've told investigators the mother of five feared for her life.
On Thursday, homicide detective Mark McCaffrey testified that when he called Braulio Castillo on the morning of March 20 to say he had something important to discuss, Castillo said he'd call back. McCaffrey says he then sped to Castillo home and found him on the phone.
"He told me he was on the phone with his attorney and he wasn't going to speak with me," said McCaffrey.
McCaffrey said told Castillo, "'You can't talk to me, but I can tell you something. Your wife is dead.' He just looked at me and said, 'Oh.'"
The prosecutor asked, "Did he ask anything about how his wife died?"
McCaffrey said no.
But defense attorney Alex Levay suggested that Castillo might have given the detective the cold shoulder that day because he had violated a protective order when he picked up his kids at the house that morning, after they couldn't find their mom.
A Loudoun County crime scene investigator also testified about evidence collected in Michelle Castillo's home. He said a "collection of hair" was found both in the bathroom where her body was found, and in the master bedroom. There was also a stain on a pillow.
During a bond hearing earlier this month, Levay told the judge, "There's zero evidence Braulio Castillo was in the house."
Prosecutors say the Castillos' children may have seen some of what happened the night their mother died. Their three-year-old told a detective that "Mommy and Daddy were both together" at the house.
In divorce paperwork, Michelle Castillo complained about her husband's erratic and abusive behavior. She had accused her husband of being physically abusive and threatening her before they separated, according to court documents obtained by News4.
Castillo was the CEO of a small technology contractor in Leesburg.
Tuesday, a judge will set Castillo's trial date.