INDICTMENT HANDED DOWN TO DUO FOR MURDER

An Atlantic County Grand Jury indicted a duo Thursday afternoon on charges of murder, conspiracy, theft and endangering an injured person, for their alleged roles in the death of a Flushing, New York man, found dead at a motel in Atlantic City in January of 2010, Atlantic County Prosecutor Ted Housel said.

It is alleged that in the early morning hours of Jan. 25, Ericka Pugh, a New York City prostitute, met the victim, Victor Castillo, in an Atlantic City casino. They went to the Rodeway Inn motel, which is located at 3601 Pacific Avenue, where Pugh stole Castillo’s money. When Castillo attempted to retrieve his money, Pugh enlisted the assistance of Anwar Belton, of Jersey City, who occupied a nearby room.  Castillo was beaten and strangled to death, according to Assistant Prosecutor William Merz, who presented the case to the Grand Jury. In addition to the other charges, Pugh was indicted on one count of prostitution.

Belton, 29, was arrested in Feb. 14 in Mahwah, Bergen County, during a motor vehicle stop in which he provided false information to police. He was initially charged with aggravated assault. Belton’s co-defendant, Ericka Pugh, 26, was arrested on Feb. 4 in New York.

Prosecutor Housel authorized the presentation of upgraded charges based on Atlantic County Medical Examiner Dr. Hydow Park’s final report that listed Castillo’s cause of death as asphyxia due to physical assault including neck compression.

If convicted of the murder, the co-defendants each face up to life in prison and $200,000 in fines.

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