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Man accused in 4-year-old Ava Castillo's death pleads guilty, sentenced

Ava Castillo and Ferrell Dardar
Ava Castillo and Ferrell Dardar (KPRC)

HOUSTON – One of three men charged in the 2016 shooting death of 4-year-old Ava Castillo pleaded guilty Monday morning.

Ferrell Dardar was sentenced to 60 years in prison. He was originally charged with capital murder, but the charge was reduced to murder as part of the plea deal.

Prosecutors said Dardar, Philip Battles and Marco Miller tried to steal her mother's purse outside their Greenspoint area apartment on Nov. 14, 2016, before shooting Ava, her mother and sister.

A Crime Stoppers tip led police to Battles, who was linked to another deadly aggravated robbery.

Prosecutors said Dardar was the one who pulled the trigger, hitting Ava in the forehead. He was already on bond at the time for three other aggravated robberies.

The men had been on a crime spree when they targeted the family, according to prosecutors.

Ava's mother, Diana Gomez, and sister, Betsida were shot, but survived.