A wealthy Virginia CEO on trial for killing his wife has received support from an unlikely source -- his mother-in-law.
Michelle Castillo, a mother of five children, was found hanging in a basement shower in an Ashburn home March 20, 2014. She and her husband, Braulio Castillo, were in the middle of a bitter divorce and child custody battle, and he was barred from the home.
Michelle Castillo's mother, Judy Barnickel, testified for the defense on Friday. Barnickel, who lives in Georgia, supported her son-in-law after her daughter's death and has since stayed with his family during visits to Ashburn.
Barnickel testified Braulio Castillo's sister was the person who called to tell her about her daughter's death.
Shortly after Castillo was charged with his estranged wife's death, Barnickel wrote a letter to the court voicing her support for her son-in-law.
Barnickel read her letter on the witness stand, saying, "He's never treated her badly."
However, prosecutors argued that is only what Barnickel witnessed. They said Castillo beat Michelle Castillo, suffocated her and set the scene to look like a suicide.
After Barnickel stepped down from the witness stand she embraced the defendant's family.
Michelle Castillo's close friends have testified she was upbeat the night before she was found dead and talked about how she was looking forward to running the Boston Marathon.
But the family's housekeeper, Sylvia Anaya, gave emotional testimony Friday that Michelle Castillo was unhappy in the days before her death.
"On Tuesday, I saw her sad when I came...I noticed especially on Wednesday she was sad," Anaya said.