Cherokee County

Man convicted of rape by Cherokee Co. jury sentenced to life in prison without parole, DA says

CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. — An Atlanta man was sentenced to serve life in prison without parole plus 30 years after a Cherokee County jury convicted him of rape and attempted murder, in addition to other charges.

The Cherokee County District Attorney’s Office said Fernando Castillo, 40, was convicted on Aug. 28 for 11 charges, including rape, attempted murder, and false imprisonment among others.

On Nov. 9, Castillo was sentenced to life in prison.

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According to the DA’s office, Castillo was arrested on June 26, 2020 after deputies responded to a 911 call about a rape in Cherokee County.

“When the young woman in this case first met Castillo, she had no idea what a cruel, callous man he was. Throughout their relationship, the violent incidents kept escalating, as often happens in the cycle of violence,” District Attorney Susan K. Treadaway said in a statement. “This jury verdict and sentencing ensures that a very dangerous man remains off our streets for the remainder of his natural life. We hope that this case encourages other victims of domestic violence to seek the help they need.”

The victim had dated Castillo for about eight months, according to the DA’s office, and the morning of June 26, 2020, Castillo forced his way into her home, then her bedroom, and started attacking her.

The DA’s office said he smothered her after beating her, then pinned her to a wall and strangled her before sexually assaulting her multiple times.

When Castillo fell asleep, the victim left home and called for help.


After talking to law enforcement, the victim was examined by a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, who detailed the multiple injuries she’d sustained in Castillo’s attack.

In court during the trial, members of the jury spent four days listening to testimony and seeing evidence from the case, then took two days to deliberate and convict him of “11 charges, including rape, aggravated sodomy (two counts), aggravated sexual battery (two counts), criminal attempt to commit murder, aggravated assault (two counts), aggravated battery, false imprisonment, and burglary in the first degree,” according to the DA’s office.

After the trial, during sentencing, a Cherokee County Superior Court Judge listened to arguments from both prosecutors and defense attorneys, then sentenced Castillo to life in prison.

Castillo, according to the DA’s office, is a recidivist offender, meaning he had already been convicted in his past at least once. In addition to Castillo’s life imprisonment, he was given a life without parole and an additional 30 years to serve, as well as being ordered to not speak to the victim or her family.

“The facts of this case are tremendously disturbing and one of the worst cases of strangulation I have seen in my career. The defendant’s attack on this victim was pure evil. He was vicious, brutal, and unrelenting, and she was lucky to escape with her life,” Assistant District Attorney Kelly Chavis, of the Gang and Organized Crime Unit, Office of the District Attorney, Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit said in a statement.

If you or someone you know is impacted by domestic violence, please contact the Cherokee Family Violence Center,, or call 770-479-1703 (24/7 crisis hotline). In case of an emergency, call 911.

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