Thursday, Sept. 26, 1996 | 11:59 a.m.
While the jury deliberated over William Castillo's fate, his accomplice in the killing of a retired schoolteacher pleaded guilty.
The deal for Michelle Platou requires that she serve at least 20 years behind bars before she would be eligible for parole. District Judge Bill Maupin will sentence her on Nov. 4.
Platou, 26, seemed calm and spoke without hesitation Wednesday as she pleaded guilty to murder, burglary and robbery charges. She had driven Castillo, 23, to the home of 86-year-old Isabelle Berndt on Dec. 17 and helped him break into the home near Western High School.
As she was stealing the victim's possessions, Castillo was bludgeoning Berndt to death in a bedroom. Although Platou did not participate in the actual murder, Nevada law makes her equally responsible because she participated in the other crimes.
District Attorney Stewart Bell said he discussed the plea bargain with Berndt's family and they agreed it was a "just result."
Bell added that it also saves the "time, trouble and expense of a trial."