BALLSTON SPA — The Moreau man who shot and nearly killed his neighbor was acquitted of attempted murder Monday but convicted of assault and weapons charges, ending a four-week trial in Saratoga County Court.
The panel found 25-year-old Joey M. Castro guilty of felony counts of first-degree assault, criminal use of a firearm, reckless endangerment, criminal possession of a weapon and failure to register a weapon. He was acquitted of attempted second-degree murder and unlawful manufacture of an assault weapon.
The acquittal for attempted murder is a hollow victory, as first-degree assault carries the same weight as attempted second-degree murder, up to 25 years in state prison. Because those two charges arose from one incident, concurrent sentences would have been required had he been convicted of both.
Saratoga County Judge James Murphy sent Castro to Saratoga County Jail without bail pending sentencing Dec. 17.
The jury got the case late Monday morning, and Murphy received several notes with questions about the law and testimony before a verdict was reached shortly before 6 p.m.
Castro was charged for the Oct. 8, 2017 shooting that left victim Michael Desnoyers paralyzed from the waist down.
Police said Castro was at a gathering at Desnoyers’ home on Laurel Road when he became angry at taunts directed him after drinking, went to his neighboring home and got an AR-15-style rifle before walking back. He then opened fire into the garage where Desnoyers and others were, hitting Desnoyers in the back.
Desnoyers and three other people who were at the home testified the man they knew as Joey Castro was the shooter.
The semiautomatic gun fired as many as eight shots and was illegally owned by Castro, as it had not been registered with the state.
Castro’s defense lawyer, William Montgomery, questioned whether it could have been Castro’s twin brother, Jeffrey, who was responsible. Jeffrey Castro pleaded guilty to a felony weapon possession charge for an unregistered assault-style rifle he had in the Castro home, but testified he wasn’t responsible for the shooting.
Montgomery could not be reached Monday night.
Saratoga County assistant district attorneys Alan Poremba and Shawn Lescault prosecuted the case.
Castro faces a minimum of 5 years and a maximum of 25 years in state prison on the assault charge, with possible consecutive sentences for the gun possession charges and reckless endangerment for endangering others who were in the garage.