Ridgecrest man sentenced to 11 years in prison for killing man with single punch outside bar

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — With one punch, Richard Castleberry killed a man outside a Ridgecrest bar. He didn’t exchange words with the man or otherwise interact with him before striking him, and there is no evidence the two knew each other.

A Kern judge on Monday sentenced Castleberry to 11 years in prison following the 32-year-old’s no contest plea to voluntary manslaughter. Murder and assault charges were dismissed under the plea agreement.

On May 26 of last year, Castleberry was escorted out of Triple T’s Tavern on Ridgecrest Boulevard shortly before closing time, bar employees told police. An employee said she and another employee went outside at about 1:50 a.m. and saw Castleberry urinating outside the building. They told him to leave, and he became confrontational.

Shortly afterward, Castleberry hit Luis Fernando Vargas Quintero, who was standing near a bar employee’s car, the employee told police. She said no words were exchanged between Castleberry and Quintero, and that Quintero was “just standing there.”

The 29-year-old fell and hit the back of his head on the car. He was taken to Ridgecrest Regional Hospital, where he was pronounced dead within the hour.

Castleberry was arrested after witnesses chased him down.

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