Tuesday, February 20, 2007


NEW CITY, NY — Mary Nagle's family wept yesterday as the jury foreman pronounced Ronald Douglas Herrera Castellanos guilty of raping and murdering the New City mother inside her bedroom last April. Herrera, 30, faces a maximum term of life in prison without parole when he is sentenced May 15 by state Supreme Court Justice William Kelly. The foreman, Matthew Kerewski, declared Herrera guilty of all 15 felony charges, including seven counts of first-degree murder and single counts of rape, sodomy and sexual abuse in the sexual mutilation of the 42-year-old woman on April 29. The jury of seven women and five men deliberated for about 2 1/2 hours.

"This doesn't bring my sister back," Donna McGrath said. "We're happy with the verdict and glad this part is behind us." McGrath said one of the hardest parts of the trial was listening to Herrera testify in his own defense Tuesday. Herrera, a Guatemalan native living illegally in the United States, claimed he woke up on top of Nagle but had been too intoxicated by alcohol and cocaine from the night before to remember beating, slashing, raping and choking her to death. "It was difficult to listen to him up there," McGrath said, tears rolling down her face. "He showed no type of remorse or emotion. The travesty is Dan is without a wife, and their two children are without their mother."

Herrera's lawyer, Barry F. Weiss, said Herrera would appeal the convictions. Weiss said he wasn't surprised at the verdict, though he stood behind Herrera's claim that he was too drunk to intend to kill Nagle. "From the first day I represented him, I expected this verdict," Weiss said. "We disagree with the verdict, but it was arrived at in a court of law, and it will be challenged." Herrera, who lived on Union Road in Spring Valley, worked for the contractor Color-On when he was supposed to power wash the rear deck at the 21 Tamarac Ave. home. Instead, Herrera sneaked inside the house and attacked Nagle in her bedroom, where she was preparing for a tennis game at the Nyack Field Club. Armed with a green-handled box cutter, Herrera slashed and beat Nagle almost beyond recognition as he raped her for at least 30 minutes and mutilated her with the box cutter. Part of her earlobe was cut off, and she was cut across her hands while trying to fight off her attacker. . Herrera also made lewd telephone calls from Mary Nagle's cell phone to her sisters and friends, describing how he sexually abused her.

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