Blackfoot man pleads guilty to killing girlfriend’s son

Crime Watch

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Jesus Castillo | Mike Price,

Editor’s note: This story contains violent content. Reader discretion is advised.

BLACKFOOT — A Blackfoot man accused of murdering a toddler pleaded guilty to first-degree murder Wednesday afternoon.

Jesus Castillo admitted to killing 18-month-old Zachary Tendoy in March. The boy was the son of Castillo’s girlfriend.

Castillo entered into a plea agreement with Bingham County prosecutors that will ensure a sentence of 15 years to life in prison. During his court hearing, Castillo said he was drunk and that caused him to “lash out,” resulting in Zachary’s death.

RELATED | Court documents detail horrific abuse that allegedly led to toddler’s death

On the morning of March 23, Castillo caused the child to hit his head and struck the victim’s abdominal area, resulting in the injuries that led to his death, according to court records.

While talking to law enforcement officers, doctors described the attack as “very violent” and compared the child’s injuries to those that someone of his size would sustain in a car crash at 70 miles per hour while only wearing a seatbelt across his lap, court documents state.

Castillo told police he had been drinking that day and Tendoy had been asleep. When the child woke up and crawled out of his playpen, Castillo said he heard a thud and went into the bedroom where he found Zachary and gave him a bottle.

Later in the hallway, “the child was whiny,” so Castillo told officers that he pushed him down into the door jam of the bathroom. When Zachary got up and followed him, Castillo heel kicked him in the stomach area, according to court records. The child fell again and hit the wall and trim of the doorway.

Castillo said he felt bad and gave the child a vanilla wafer before carrying him to his playpen, but he later picked him back up and shook him several times after the child continued to cry, according to court records. He then put Zachary in the playpen again.

The toddler reportedly crawled back out of the playpen and fell on the floor, according to court records. Castillo went to check on the child when he heard a thud, and he found him lying on the floor.

Castillo picked the child up, woke up his girlfriend, who had gone to sleep earlier, and called 911, according to court reports.

Castillo said he started chest compressions and then his girlfriend took over until emergency officials arrived.

Zachary was taken to Bingham Memorial Hospital in Blackfoot and then to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls, where he died.

Castillo will be sentenced Jan. 23 in Bingham County.