Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Teen brothers found guilty in dragging death

TAMPA — A year-and-a-half after Christopher Daniels was found bloodied in a ditch in Thonotosassa, his 4-year-old brother still asks about his big brother.

"Almost on a daily basis," Marvin Daniels, Christopher's father, said, "we have to explain why Christopher is in heaven."

A jury Friday found two teenage brothers guilty of manslaughter after they killed Daniels by dragging him from a pickup truck.

Bailey Castle, 18, and Roger Castle III, 19, were charged with first-degree murder and robbery in January, but were convicted of lesser charges of manslaughter, theft and possession. The jury deliberated for seven and a half hours.

"We're satisfied with the verdict," Marvin Daniels said. "All we've ever wanted is for someone to be held accountable."

It was a drug deal gone bad, prosecutors said, when 18-year-old Daniels reached into a pickup truck with a bag of marijuana. According to witnesses, Roger Castle was driving and hit the gas. Defense attorneys dispute that telling of events, saying Castle was not driving.

Daniels clung to the side of the truck before dropping into a ditch, witnesses said. A woman who found him prayed over his body while waiting for authorities to arrive.

Daniels died at Tampa General Hospital nine days later.

In the courtroom Friday, Roger Castle rubbed tears from his eyes as he waited for the jury to return a verdict. The Daniels family held crosses with hearts and roses handwoven out of palm fronds. They played cards and watched videos on their cellphones while waiting for the jury.

Marvin Daniels said the toughest moments were just after they heard there was a verdict but waited for the jury to reenter the courtroom.

"In my heart I never truly had a doubt," he said. "We never wanted to see them spend the rest of their lives in prison; we wanted to know what happened to our son."

Roger Castle does not have any prior convictions, but records show Bailey Castle was arrested in May at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino for possession of a controlled substance. Roger was released on bond, but Bailey, who was already in custody after the drug charge, will remain in jail.

Because the brothers were juveniles at the time of the crime, the court ordered a predisposition report that will recommend a treatment plan before sentencing. For the crime, the brothers are facing a maximum of 15 years in prison.

Sentencing for the Castle brothers is scheduled for July 19.

Times staff writer Peter Jamison contributed to this report. Charles Scudder can be reached at or (813) 225-3111.

Teen brothers found guilty in dragging death 06/14/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 6:57pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Florida's school grades improve as educators get the hang of a new system


    Following a trend, Florida's school grades showed strong gains in the third year after the state changed its grading formula and the standardized tests that students take every year.

    After finding out earlier Wednesday that her school went from a low C to an A,  Bear Creek Elementary principal Willette Houston celebrates with her students in the YMCA After School program at the school in St. Petersburg. Houston is giving a high five to rising fifth grader Jonaven Viera. Rising 4th grader Jonathan Cafaro is in foreground with his back to camera. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]
  2. More charges for Tampa Bay area woman accused of getting pregnant by 11-year-old boy


    TAMPA — A woman sexually battered an 11-year-old Brandon boy, got pregnant and raised the baby for three years before a tip led to her arrest, Hillsborough County sheriff's officials said.

    Marissa Mowry, now 25,  had sex as many as 20 times in 2014 with a boy who was 11 when he impregnated her, Hillsborough County detectives allege. [Photo courtesy of Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  3. Heights Public Market to host two Tampa Bay food trucks


    TAMPA — The Heights Public Market announced the first two food trucks for its "rotating stall," which will feature new restaurants every four months. Surf and Turf and Empamamas will be rolled out first.

    Heights Public Market is opening this summer inside the Tampa Armature Works building.
[SKIP O'ROURKE   |   Times file photo]

  4. Mariners lose lefty Drew Smyly to Tommy John surgery


    SEATTLE — Drew Smyly was the centerpiece to one of Seattle's many offseason moves by general manager Jerry Dipoto. He was a priority acquisition as a proven lefty for the rotation the Mariners believed would thrive pitching at Safeco Field.

    Drew Smyly will undergo Tommy John surgery after being diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament. Seattle announced the diagnosis on Wednesday, ending Smyly's hopes of returning during the 2017 season. [AP photo]
  5. Author Randy Wayne White could open St. Pete's biggest restaurant on the pier

    Food & Dining

    ST. PETERSBURG — The story begins with Yucatan shrimp.

    St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin, pilot Mark Futch, Boca Grande, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, and author and businessman Randy Wayne White,  Sanibel, exit a Maule Super Rocket seaplane after taking a fight around Tampa Bay off the St. Petersburg waterfront, 6/28/17.  White and his business partners are in negotiations with the City of St. Petersburg to build a fourth Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille on the approach to the St. Petersburg Pier with a second event space on the pier according to White. The group met near Spa Beach after a ground breaking ceremony for the new pier. "We want to have our business open by the time the pier opens," said White. Other Dr. Ford restaurants are located on Sanibel, Captiva and Ft. Myers Beach. SCOTT KEELER   |   Times