Pretrial scheduled in 1994 murder case

ALAMOSA — A pretrial conference is scheduled next month for retired schoolteacher Lamberto Ricci Castillo, 65, Alamosa, who was charged earlier this year in the 1994 murders of Kenny Paul Sommers and his friend Chen ‘Cosmo’ Maui Blanchard, both 23, in California.

Castillo, who had been living in rural Alamosa County for the past 10 years when he was arrested on April 27, has been charged with two felony counts of murder in the 23-year-old double homicide in Huntington Beach, Calif. His case has been moving through the Orange County courts in California, with a pretrial scheduled for September 15.

He is accused of shooting Sommers and Blanchard to death on March 31, 1994, after confronting the two for urinating near a Huntington Beach intersection a few blocks from the pier. An off-duty police officer witnessed the confrontation in downtown Huntington Beach but not the shooting, which occurred later that night, according to information released by the Orange County DA’s office in May.

Castillo allegedly went home and returned with a handgun at about 10:15 p.m. when he shot Sommers and Blanchard multiple times before leaving the scene, according to the district attorney’s office. Both men were pronounced dead at the scene.

The case had gone cold until about a year ago when newly developed evidence led authorities to Castillo, according to the Orange County DA’s office. Local authorities coordinated with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and California authorities to arrest Castillo who waived extradition and was transported to California.

Castillo remains in custody in the Orange County Jail in California.