ARIZONA NEWS

Suspect in brutal murder/mutilation case implicated in another Phoenix homicide

Dec 8, 2023, 9:23 AM | Updated: 11:43 am

Mugshot of Leonardo Santiago, who has been accused of first-degree murder in two Phoenix cases....

Leonardo Santiago has been accused of first-degree murder in two Phoenix cases. (Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Photo)

(Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Photo)

PHOENIX — One of the suspects in the high-profile murder and mutilation of a gay man at a Phoenix park has been implicated in a second homicide case, authorities said Friday.

Leonardo Santiago, 21, was booked on a first-degree murder charge in the March shooting death of Osvaldo Hernandez Castillo, the Phoenix Police Department said.

Santiago, a suspected gang member, was already in custody after being arrested Saturday in connection with the death of 30-year-old Bernardo Pantaleon last month.

What are the details of Phoenix murder case from March?

Hernandez Castillo, 20, was found the afternoon of March 20 with a gunshot wound near 24th and Dunlap avenues, police said. He died after being taken to a hospital.

No arrests were made at the time, but the case remained active. New digital evidence linking Santiago to Hernandez Castillo’s death was uncovered during the investigation into the Pantaleon case, police.

“Santiago was questioned by detectives regarding the new evidence and admitted to his involvement in the March homicide,” Sgt. Phil Krynsky said in a press release.

What was Leonardo Santiago already in custody?

Santiago is one of four men with alleged gang ties who have been arrested in the past week in the Pantaleon case.

Pantaleon was found dead, with multiple gunshot wounds, at Mountain View Park near Seventh and Peoria avenues on Nov. 26. He had injuries to his head, neck and torso, and his body was mutilated, according to court documents.

Evidence indicated that Pantaleon may have been targeted because of his sexuality.

Santiago, 21-year-old Manuel Carrasco Calderon and 20-year-old Jose Rodriguez were taken into custody Saturday, and 21-year-old Christopher Ibarra Santana was arrested Tuesday.

All four men were booked on counts of first-degree murder and other charges related to Pantaleon’s death.

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Suspect in brutal murder/mutilation case implicated in another Phoenix homicide