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Man convicted of killing former Santa Monica High football captain

A jury last month found a 43-year-old Los Angeles man guilty of murder in the killing of a  Santa Monica teenager in 2017, according to Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

Sherwin Mendoza Espinosa was convicted Aug. 21 of one count of second-degree murder. A jury also found true an allegation that a gun was used in the murder, prosecutors said.

Juan Sebastian Castillo, 18, was found Feb. 26, 2017, at 5:08 a.m. with a gunshot wound to the head outside UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, according to police.

At the time, police said that Castillo’s body had been dumped.  Months later, detectives were able to determine that Castillo was killed in the 2100 block of Pico Boulevard, near Virginia Avenue Park, police said.

Castillo was a standout athlete, his family said, and competed on all-star baseball teams and played football at Santa Monica High. He had plans to enroll at Santa Monica College and join the Marines.

Espinosa faces 40 years to life in state prison when he is sentenced Oct. 12, according to prosecutors.

Contact the Homicide Report. Follow @nicolesantacruz and @latimeshomicide on Twitter.

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