Victims of Dangerous House Calls: Mary Nagle
Mary Nagle was a 42 year old mother of two living in New York. She graduated summa cum laude from Boston College and married her husband, Daniel, in 1990. She was a PTA member and actively served in her church.
“Daniel Nagle remembered her tremendous smile and warm brown eyes. Although their courtship lasted three years, the two knew almost as soon as they met that they had found their matches, he said. “When I met Mary, I knew she was the girl I had to marry from day one,” he said. “It was fate.” Mary Nagle was described by her husband as independent and happy-go-lucky but focused and forward-thinking. She taught her husband how to play tennis, but didn’t give him any breaks during matches. He said he never beat her at tennis. She was devoted to her two children and proud of them, Daniel Nagle said. “Her life was her children. She loved to spend time with them. I knew her as a career woman, but she really was a mother — there was nothing more than that to her.”
In April 2005 the Nagles hired the contractor Color-On who sent Herrera, a Guatemalan native living illegally in the United States, to power wash the rear deck at their home. Instead, Herrera stopped working, went inside the house and attacked Nagle in her bedroom, where she was preparing for a tennis game. Mary’s husband, Dan Nagle, was at work and their two children — a son in third grade and a daughter in kindergarten — were at school. “Mrs. Nagle told one of her sisters during an 8:50 a.m. phone call that she had to get off the phone because a worker wanted to speak to her.” Herrera beat, raped, and mutilated Mrs. Nagle, then changed clothes and fled the scene. “The vicious rape, genital mutilation, sadistic beating of Mary Nagle proves volumes that Herrera intended to kill her and did,” District Attorney Bongiorno said. Detective Delo said that many of Mrs. Nagle’s relatives and friends learned about her death in horrendous fashion: from Mr. Herrera himself, who called them and ”referred to several aspects of the crime.” ”Some of those calls were disgusting; they were taunting,” the detective said. ”He was saying some really sick stuff.”
Herrera, 30, faces a maximum term of life in prison without parole when he was sentenced on May 15, 2006 by state Supreme Court Justice William Kelly. Nagle’s husband, Daniel Nagle, squeezed a relative’s hand and looked upward after hearing that the man who sadistically killed his wife was convicted. Mary Nagle’s sisters, brother and friends shed tears and hugged as the verdict was read. “This doesn’t bring my sister back,” Donna McGrath said. “We’re happy with the verdict and glad this part is behind us.”
“Herrera Castellanos, who carried what appeared to be a valid California driver’s license, was employed by a New Jersey-based painting company that had previously carried out work at the Nagle home. The unlicensed, New Jersey-based company, Color-on Painting, did not perform a background check on Herrera, who had been living in the U.S. illegally since May, 2001, and was wanted on a 2002 warrant.
“It’s vital that if you are home alone, you let someone else — a friend, a neighbor — know that a contractor is coming to do work. If necessary, pick up the phone when the handyman arrives and say to your neighbor/friend/spouse, ‘The contractor has just arrived, the one who’s going to be working on the plumbing,'” said Gerard Kane, the managing director of Excel security and a former NYPD detective. “Make sure the contractor hears you saying this. Also consider asking a friend/neighbor over for coffee.”
“Another option is pre-arranging for someone to call you on the phone during the contractor visit, just to check in.” “You’ve got to be out of your mind not to consider people that come into your home as people that could harm you or could rob you,” said Bo Dietl, a former homicide detective who is now a security consultant. “Gerard Kane, the managing director of Excel security and a former NYPD detective, said to keep the contractor at a distance but in sight. Lock doors if the contractor is working outside and keep an exit in view if you need to escape. Also try to find out about the contractor before hiring. Many people hire workers without knowing much about them.”
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