DA Krasner announces sentencing of three men for murder of 18-year-old Olympic hopeful

Image from press release

PHILADELPHIA (May 9, 2024) — District Attorney Larry Krasner and members of the District Attorney’s Office Homicide and Nonfatal Shooting Unit announced the conviction and sentencing of three men for their roles in a home invasion robbery that resulted in the death and injuries of 18-year-old Joshua Soto. from another person in November 2021.

Joseph Cuevas (DOB 07/23/1997) was convicted by a Philadelphia jury of second-degree murder, attempted murder, robbery and gun-related charges in March. Luis Castillo (DOB 08/27/1997) pleaded guilty to third-degree murder, conspiracy, aggravated assault, robbery, and firearm-related charges shortly before trial. A third defendant who cooperated with investigators also pleaded guilty to third-degree murder, attempted murder, conspiracy and robbery.

On the afternoon of November 6, 2021, Cuevas, Castillo, and the third defendant arrived at the home of Zbigniew Still, who was selling marijuana at the time, to commit a robbery. Soto, who did not use drugs and was an extremely talented ice skater, was visiting Still, a friend, and watching Netflix when he was shot in the chest by Cuevas. Soto then fled the residence before collapsing on the sidewalk. Still was shot several times in the abdomen and leg, but survived. He later testified in court.

The getaway car was registered to Cuevas. The car was found burned to the ground in Northeast Philadelphia later that month. The cooperating defendant, who was wearing an ankle monitor at the time of the robbery, was arrested two days later and provided valuable information to investigators. The surviving victim, Still, once sufficiently recovered from his injuries, was able to identify the three defendants and provided a statement corroborating the details provided by the cooperating defendant.

“Thanks to Deputy Prosecutor Robert Wainwright’s excellent prosecution, Joshua Soto’s killer no longer poses a threat to the community,” DA Krasner said. “I hope these convictions send a clear message to anyone who thinks it’s okay to walk around with guns and get involved in drug activity: you will be held accountable. »

“I want to thank the Philadelphia Police detectives who worked tirelessly to bring this investigation to a close,” said ADA Wainwright. “I also thank the Soto family for their strength and patience as law enforcement worked to bring their son’s killer to justice.” Although this sentence will never bring Joshua Soto back to life, I am glad that it will bring some comfort to his family.

“Joshua Soto was a unique, humble and passionate person,” said Damaris Perez-Soto, Joshua’s mother. “He was a pillar of his community. He loved his peers and his passion for skating was immeasurable. I thank ADA Robert Wainwright, District Attorney Larry Krasner and his office, and the Philadelphia Police Department for obtaining justice for our family.

Cuevas was sentenced to life in state prison without the possibility of parole and Castillo was sentenced to 35 to 70 years in state prison by Hon. J. Scott O’Keefe.

Dustin Slaughter, (email protected)215-686-8713

The photo and video below are provided by the Soto family for media use.

Joshua Soto Memorial Video

(Click on the image to play the video)