BOSTON (CBS) — A Salem man convicted of killing an Army veteran in 2012 was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on Monday.

Peter Castillo, 28, was found guilty last Wednesday of first-degree murder in the killing of Stephen Perez, a former Army sniper who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Stephen Perez was killed during a fight in 2012. (Image Credit: Facebook)

Stephen Perez was killed during a fight in 2012. (Image Credit: Facebook)

Prosecutors said Castillo shot Perez in the back in Boston’s Theater District on April 28, 2012, after a fight between two groups of people.

Castillo fled the country, and was captured in the Dominican Republic in January 2015 after being added to the U.S. Marshals’ Most Wanted Fugitives list.

Peter Castillo convicted in shooting death of Stephen Perez (WBZ-TV)

Peter Castillo convicted in shooting death of Stephen Perez (WBZ-TV)

In court Monday, friends and family read statements detailing the pain of the last four years without Perez.

Rebecca Prouty, Perez’s sister, called Perez “the light of our lives.”

“The world became a darker place the day Stephen was taken from us and we will never have that light back again,” she said.

Perez’s family said he planned to continue his public service here at home.

“Stephen had so much ahead of him,” said cousin Arianna Bordonaro. “He had defended our country, and was on his way to protect us further by being a policeman and keeping his community safe.”

In another statement, Perez’s girlfriend, Cassandra Barrasso, addressed Castillo directly.

“A life in prison will never bring stephen back but since your brutal murder against the love of my life, I have always said no day in prison could compare to the day you look into my eyes and see the agony and hurt you have permanently instilled upon me,” she said.

“Allow me to inform you that it was more than one innocent life you seized that day, but you took mine as well as I feel lifeless without him.”

She said she was diagnosed with anxiety, panic disorder, and depression after Perez’s murder.

Castillo’s lawyer said he plans to appeal the verdict.


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