Darrell Kastel, facing a first-degree murder charge, entered a plea this morning, bringing relief to the people who were present during the 1979 shooting of a supermarket supervisor in Farmington, MI.
Kastel, 56, pleaded no contest to an added charge of second-degree murder as part of a plea agreement. The first-degree felony murder charge against him was dismissed.
Under the agreement and according to the sentencing guidelines that were in place at the time of the crime, Kastel is expected to receive a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison. “I’m happy that you’re doing this,” Oakland Circuit Judge Rae Lee Chabot told him. “You are doing the right thing for yourself.” Chabot will sentence Kastel at 1:30 p.m. Aug. 31, 2010.
The prosecution stated that two men, Kastel and Hess, killed 62-year-old Julius Schnoll on Jan. 27, 1979, during a botched robbery at the Great Scott supermarket at 10 Mile and Orchard Lake roads. Police said on the day of the killing, Hess, and Kastel, both from Highland Park, climbed in through the store’s air-conditioning duct early in the morning, herded the four night-shift workers into the break room and hog-tied them with dog leashes and cellophane.
Schnoll, who was a night manager and traveled between two stores, was ordered to open the safe, but Schnoll didn’t know the combination because only the day manager had that information. When the robbers realized Schnoll couldn’t open the safe, he was shot in the head inside of the break room in front of the rest of the employees.