Four Brownwood Men Indicted in Philen Murder

Pedro Rocha Alex Lucky Gil, Jr.
Effrain Castillo III Matthew Scott Navarro

A Brown County grand jury indicted four men, all of Brownwood, on charges of capital murder in the 2009 death of 49-year-old Ronald Philen. Efrain Castillo III, Alex Lucky Gil, Jr., Mathew Scott Navarro and Pedro Rocha were arrested in early January for the murder of Philen and now face charges of capital murder.

Ronald Philen’s brother 50-year-old Randall Philen had been convicted, after a nine day trial, of the murder on November 22, 2011.  At that time Brownwood District Attorney Micheal Murray stated that the fatal shooting that took place at the brothers’ home on December 11, 2009 was “an act of rage” and was “a most heinous crime in a bitter betrayal.” Randall Philen received a sentence of life in prison for the murder and two years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Institutional Division, for a felony marijuana charge, the sentences were to run concurrently.

The case suddenly took a twist and was reopened in December.  More evidence was presented to law enforcement which led to the arrest of two 21-year-old men, Pedro Rocha and Alex Lucky Gil, Jr. on January 10, 2012.  According to the district attorney Micheal Murray, information that substantiated Randall Philen’s claim that armed gunmen murdered his brother while Randall was tied up in another room of the same house was brought to  Murray’s office by a confidential witness.

The Brownwood Police Department and the Texas Rangers continued with a formal investigation.  A motion for new trial was filed by Murray along with an affidavit submitted by Bruce Spruill of the Brownwood Police Department which confirmed the information from the informant and stated that the informant believed that he could secure a recorded confession by at least one of the individuals responsible for the murder.  Although the informant was not able to get the recorded confession, he was able to obtain information that cooberated the informant’s claims that individuals other than Randall Philen were responsible for the murder of Ronald Philen, according to Spruill.

The informant, according to the affidavit filed by BPD detective Bruce Spruill, stated that four gunmen entered the home of Ronald and Randall Philen in the early hours of December 11, 2009, intending to rob them of a quantity of marijuana, and shot Ronald Philen multiple times with a small-caliber firearm.

This investigation led to the arrest of 20-year-old Efrain Castillo III on January 11th and the arrest of 21-year-old Matthew Scott Navarro later that night, both men charged with the murder of Ronald Philen.

On March 29th, the four men were indicted by the Brown County Grand Jury on capital murder.  The victim’s brother Randall Philen, was released from prison on Wednesday, January 11, 2012 and District Judge Stephen Ellis signed a court order granting Philen a new trial.