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DA Krasner Announces Conviction, Sentencing of Three Men in Killing of 18-Year-Old Olympic Hopeful

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

Joseph Cuevas (DOB 7/23/1997) was found guilty by a Philadelphia jury of 2nd Degree Murder, Attempted Murder, Robbery, and related firearm charges in March. Luis Castillo (DOB 8/27/1997) pleaded guilty to Third Degree Murder, Conspiracy, Aggravated Assault, Robbery, and related firearm charges shortly before the 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 residence of Zbigniew Still, who was dealing marijuana at the time, to commit a robbery. Soto, who did not use drugs and was an extremely talented ice skater, was visiting with Still, a friend, and watching Netflix when he was shot by Cuevas in the chest. Soto then fled out of the residence before collapsing on the sidewalk. Still was shot multiple times in the abdomen and leg but survived. He later testified in court.

The getaway car was registered to Cuevas. The car was found completely torched 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 he had recovered enough from his injuries, was able to identify the three defendants and provided a statement that corroborated the details given by the cooperating defendant.

“Thanks to the excellent prosecution by Assistant District Attorney Robert Wainwright, Joshua Soto’s killer no longer poses a threat to the community,” said DA Krasner. “I hope that these convictions send a clear message to anyone who thinks it is okay to run around with guns and involve themselves in drug activity: You will be held accountable for doing so.”

“I want to thank the assigned Philadelphia Police Detectives who worked tirelessly to close this investigation,” 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. While this conviction can never bring back Joshua Soto, I’m pleased that it will provide his family with some modicum of comfort.”

“Joshua Soto was a unique, humble, and passionate person,” said Damaris Perez-Soto, Joshua’s mother. “He was a pillar to 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 getting justice for our family.”

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

Dustin Slaughter, [email protected], 215-686-8713

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


Joshua Soto Memorial Video

(Click Image to Play Video)

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