Crime & Courts

Man gets life for Monroe store owner’s 2000 death

A Monroe man was sentenced to life in prison Monday after being convicted in a 14-year-old murder case, prosecutors say.

John Joseph Carvalho II, 57, was convicted by a Union County jury after two hours of deliberation, authorities said. He had been charged with first-degree murder and robbery with a dangerous weapon.

The charges stem from the April 28, 2000, death of George Kastanis, owner of a Monroe grocery store. Prosecutors said Kastanis was shot to death as he was closing the store for the evening.

Carvalho had been tried in the same case last October, but the trial ended with a hung jury.

The death went without an arrest for four years, but prosecutors said Carvalho implicated himself during recorded conversations with a fellow inmate. At the time, Carvalho was serving an eight-year prison term in Anson County’s Lanesboro Correctional Institution on drug and habitual felon charges.

He was sentenced Monday by Judge Christopher Bragg.

“It is extremely gratifying that we were finally able to obtain some measure of justice for the family of Mr. Kastanis after all these years,” District Attorney Trey Robison said after the trial.

Robison said the conviction resulted from painstaking investigation and work by Monroe police, the Union County Sheriff’s Office, the SBI and assistant district attorneys Jonathan Perry and Tee Leitner.