A Kennewick ice cream truck driver maintained his innocence moments before he was sentenced Monday morning to eight months in jail for exposing himself to a teenage girl.
Maximino Castillo-Murcia told the court his Dec. 2 bench trial was unfair and he never exposed himself to a then 13-year-old girl from the inside of his ice cream truck.
The 42-year-old wept as he spoke to Judge Carrie Runge in Benton County Superior Court.
“This was a very unjust trial and I am not in agreement with any (judgment) you will make,” he said through an interpreter.
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Castillo-Murcia was convicted by Runge of luring, indecent exposure and communicating with a minor for immoral purposes for the April 17 incident at Monopoly Park in east Kennewick. He owns a fleet of trucks that sell snacks around the Tri-Cities.
The girl testified Castillo-Murcia told her she was pretty and tried to get her into his truck. After she refused, the girl said Castillo-Murcia pulled his shorts down and touched himself in front of her.
Castillo-Murcia testified the girl had a crush on his then 19-year-old son. He believes the girl told police he exposed himself because he didn’t approve of his son dating her.
Family and friends fought back tears as they pleaded for leniency to Runge before the sentence was handed down. Family members accused the victim of lying and called for further investigation.
“It’s incredible that all this came because a girl had a crush on my son,” Castillo-Murcia’s wife said.
Castillo-Murcia abused a position of trust in the community and traumatized his victim so much that she is scared to be around her own brother, said Deputy Prosecutor Anita Petra.
“When children hear an ice cream truck they come running,” Petra said.
Petra recommended eight-month sentences on each conviction and for the sentences to run concurrent with each other. Castillo-Murcia’s attorney, Adreinne Farabee, asked Runge for a three-month sentence. Castillo-Murcia has no felony criminal history.
Runge told Castillo-Murcia, as she did the day of his trial, that the case came down to her believing the victim’s testimony was more credible.
Castillo-Murcia’s testimony backed up the victim’s version of events, Runge said.
“You essentially confirmed (the victim’s) testimony,” she said.
Runge followed Petra’s recommendation and sentenced Castillo-Murcia to eight months. He will have to register as a sex offender once he is released.