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August 4, 2009

Prosecutors to detail second crime scene at murder trial

Posted: 08:19 PM ET

HILLSBOROUGH, North Carolina–On Wednesday jurors will hear evidence of a second crime scene—the family home where Alvaro Castillo shot his father, Rafael, seven times, mainly in the head and neck, on the morning of August 30, 2006, a few hours before he went to Orange High School and opened fire. Jurors are also expected to read Castillo’s disturbing diary entries.

Alvaro Castillo back in court for another day of testimony

The Orange County jury heard from 11 more witnesses on Tuesday, the second day of Castillo’s murder, assault and weapons trial. Castillo, 21, is accused of killing his father, confessing to it on a homemade video, then traveling to his former high school and opening fire on students having lunch outside. Two students were injured; none was killed.

Jurors saw the clothing Castillo wore to Orange High School on August 30, 2006 when he fired 15 rounds from a 9 mm semi-automatic rifle. Castillo wore a white Colorado tee shirt with the words “Natural Selection” handwritten in block letters across the lower front. On the back of the tee was handwritten in black ink: “Remember Columbine, April 20, 1999, Littleton, CO, I’m sorry for the pain.” The white headband he wore had red handwritten letters: “Shoot me” and “Columbine.” He also wore a black trench coat, military style boots, black cargo pants and a glove.

Photographs of the scene and items collected at the school were displayed to the jury. One officer held up the two guns Castillo carried–a 9 mm rifle and a shotgun with a sawed-off barrel. The officer carefully measured the barrel of the shotgun. It was 17 and 7/16 inches. Castillo faces three counts of possession of a weapon of mass destruction. One count is for the shotgun, the other two are for pipe bombs at the school and at his home.

Included in North Carolina’s definition of a “weapon of mass death and destruction” is a shotgun with a barrel less than 18 inches in length.

Castillo had adorned the butt of his guns with photographs and name tags. On each gun he taped two photographs of Eric Harris, one of the Columbine shooters. One photo is of Harris holding a gun, the other is a headshot of Harris. On the rifle, he taped the name Anna in big letters written on a piece of white paper. He had a similar label on the shotgun but with the name Arlene. Anna is the name of a classmate he had a crush on in high school.

Jurors saw photographs of pipe bombs in Castillo’s van, smoke grenades, 176 live rounds of ammunition, 15 spent shell casings, and the actual cracked window with a bullet hole that authorities removed from Orange High School.

Tiffaney Utsman, a high school senior at the time, was standing by a window when she was knocked to the ground by what she described as a “silver object the size of a nickel.” She had an abrasion to her right upper chest which has left a small scar. She was in the area where a bullet went through a window but, assuming it was the bullet that hit her, it didn’t penetrate her skin. Police collected the item and jurors will have a chance to examine it.

Jurors also heard from the two men who apprehended Castillo within about two minutes: London Ivey, a deputy sheriff assigned to the high school, and Barry Russell LeBlanc, a retired state trooper who taught drivers’ education.

The day concluded with the testimony of Deputy Sheriff Jonathan Daniel, who was at the Sheriff’s office when Castillo was being processed after his arrest. Daniel also accompanied Castillo to and from a hospital where he was evaluated the same day.

Daniel described an extremely agitated Castillo who was shaking so uncontrollably that his fingerprints had to be retaken. Daniel recalled Castillo repeating: “Remember Columbine and it’s all about the sacrifice.” Castillo calmed down when he saw the television cameras as they left the stationhouse for the hospital. Once again, he yelled, this time to the cameras: “Remember Columbine.” But en route to the hospital, Castillo became agitated again and asked if they were being followed by the FBI. According to Daniel, at all times, Castillo appeared to understand him and was cooperative.

Castillo is asserting an insanity defense and has a history of mental illness. He is expected to present evidence of several diagnoses–major depression, psychosis, and schizo-affective disorder—reached by medical professionals in the months and weeks before the shootings.

Stay tuned to In Session for all the latest developments in this case.

–Beth Karas, In Session correspondent

Filed under: Uncategorized


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anonymous   August 5th, 2009 9:34 am ET

If he was psychotic and diagnosed before the shooting, WHY was he not stabilized on medication with someone watching him to make sure he remained med compliant?
Now instead of being treated for the illness and contributing to society, hes going to be in jail for life.
The system failed.


Paul M   August 5th, 2009 9:52 am ET

"..reached by medical professionals in the months and weeks before the shootings." It would appear to me just by this that if I were a juror on this trial I would look very closely at this. A possible attempt to make it look like insanity? Hopefully the prosecution looked deeply into this and if that is the case that they were able to convey this to the jury.


Deb I   August 5th, 2009 10:13 am ET

This is a man who worshipped evil and tried to imitate it. His actions were not the disorganized work of a mentally ill person. He was angry and selfish, but that does not make him mentally ill. If he had wanted to commit suicide, he could have. He had the guns, but not the courage or a true suicidal desire. He wanted attention. He needs to be in prison for the rest of his life. Maybe there needs to be a verdict that carries an automatic LWOP sentence: guilty of murder, but insane. The important thing is to keep this man locked up.


Tammy   August 5th, 2009 11:41 am ET

This is ridicolous! My number one question is "where is the parents"?

How did he get the weapons? No one notice he was obessed with columbine? I totally blame the parents, especially since he had a history of mental problems. This fact alone should have warranted a watchful eye on him.

My child getting an education shouldn't have to worry about getting killed.


Thomas   August 5th, 2009 11:50 am ET

With all the planning and premeditation involved, it will be tough to get the insanity defense to fly.

I don't understand how NC can designate a sawed off shotgun as a "weapon of mass death and destruction" as if a shotgun with a bbl longer than 18 inches can suddenly not be capable of killing the same number of people?

A sawed off shotgun is a weapon with an illegal modification. I don't understand how it can qualify as a weapon of mass death and destruction based solely on the length.


Shane   August 5th, 2009 12:11 pm ET

Throw him in prison. Case closed.


saftgek   August 5th, 2009 1:03 pm ET

Due Process – - – if Guilty – - – Never See The Light of Day Again ! ! ! Now, THAT'S case closed ! ! !


AndyF   August 5th, 2009 1:03 pm ET

Throw him in prison??? The heck with that! Lynch him!!! An eye for an eye – and after all, do we really have any need for violent idiots like this in our society? No. I am tired of my tax dollars paying for the housing and feeding of scum like this. Shoot him, hang him, whatever – I dont care – he gave away his right to live by taking someone else's.


William Morales   August 5th, 2009 1:07 pm ET

A sawed-off shotgun can qualify as a weapon of "mass destruction" because it can spray a lethal amount of steel pellets at a wider spread at a shorter distrance. The lethality of this kind of weapon is greater when masses of people, such as crowds of kids on a school ground or in a classroom, are shot at from close range. This kid needs to be put away forever.


Jon   August 5th, 2009 1:10 pm ET

A shotgun is a weapon of "Mass Destruction"... Come on. Thats the Bush new word he learned and now it applies to everything from a "TRIM" brand fingernail clipper because a first grader was sent home because he brought a so-called "weapon" to school. Another first grade child was suspened because he drew a picture of a gun on a piece of paper. In both cases it was a "woman" teacher. All they want to raise now is "sissies" and "Delberts". They want all the little boys to take upon themselves feminine traits. It isn't bad enough that little boys are dominated by their mothers and then dominated for the first six or seven years by females now the goal seems to be to extinguish what it means to be masculine.


Jon   August 5th, 2009 1:15 pm ET

Yeah a shotgun with a barrel lenth of of 9/16's of an inch longer would not be classified as a weapon of mass destruction. Another kudos for the politicians of North Carolina Talk about "Splitting Hairs". I wonder if North Carolina classifies the inner cardboard of a roll of toilet paper filled with fire crackers a weapon of mass destruction.


Jason   August 5th, 2009 1:15 pm ET

This guy is not insane he is evil. He wanted that which he could not have (Anna) and decided to ease his pain with the suffering of others. I have had pain in my life too but as I am not a sociopath I was able to properly channel my anger. Take him out of society permanently. Death, Prison Colony, Penitentiary, Asylum, Geosyncronous orbit, I don't care. Get him away from the rest of us before he infects another mind with his sick world view.


Anonymous   August 5th, 2009 1:24 pm ET

The real crime here is that there is a trial, there wasn't a single officer there with a clear shot?


Cam   August 5th, 2009 1:24 pm ET

Jail won't help change this mans mind on how he thinks. He didn't see this as a good or bad thing to do, but the right thing to do. Everyone makes decisions, he made his and in my opinion the worst case scenario is for him to receive a life sentence for each injured/deceased person he was involved with, at a minimum. Not prison time to help him because a better individual, but to keep him in a place where he can't harm himself or anyone else that intends to live the life god meant for them.


R   August 5th, 2009 1:33 pm ET

Put in Jail and leave him there! He doesn't deserve another chance. If he pleads insanity.. He will be out in 5 years! And do it again!


RMG   August 5th, 2009 2:01 pm ET

I blame him, and him alone


Kyle   August 5th, 2009 2:04 pm ET

Tammy August 5th, 2009 11:41 am ET

This is ridicolous! My number one question is “where is the parents”?

Ummm – he killed his father before he went to the school. So that answers that question.


Jeff   August 5th, 2009 2:15 pm ET

I was working in a high school right down the road from Orange High in 2006, and although it appears Castillio is a lost cause, there are other kids that are at risk of snapping and committing irrationale acts. What we need to do as a school system is put in place better programs or more outreach programs to prevent these types of tradgedies.


fastflame   August 5th, 2009 2:25 pm ET

Like the lunatic in Pittsburgh, this is yet another example of the ultimate coward. Any one using, or contemplating using, a gun on inocent or unarmed persons...for any reason...is an absolute coward and should know they will go down in history as such.

As a gun owner, I see this as the kind of cowardice that gives gun control advocates the ammunition (pardon the pun) to fight for even stronger gun control laws. Unfortuantely, cowards will continue to commit such tragic deeds as long as they think they will be preceived as anything other than the snivelling cowards they are.

I don't believe in capital punishment, but I have no problem with these people spending the rest of their lives in prison doing hard labor... and it should be hard labor. Maintaining prisons for such cowards is one of the necessary, but unfortunate costs of living in a civilized society.


Angie   August 5th, 2009 3:05 pm ET

Anonymous.....you took the words right out of my mouth.


trudy cox   August 5th, 2009 3:16 pm ET

This guy is crazy like fox!
trudy in AL


Tara   August 5th, 2009 4:05 pm ET

In response to Tammy – You must have skimmed over this article or else you would have read that he brutally killed his father. Also, he is 21 years old... an adult at which that point his parents probably didn't have much control over his life.

However, I also wonder how he managed to get his hands on so many weapons. Especially considering he had a history of mental illness. Are we just handing out guns to anyone who asks for them?


Kiana   August 5th, 2009 4:44 pm ET

This man is guilty! I do not think that the insanity defense applies to him....he clearly knew that his actions were wrong and he took desperate measures to carry out his act...i think he should do at least 8 years in prison and then some type of in-patient counseling or something....his actions are not excusable and justice must be served.....


pravda   August 5th, 2009 7:31 pm ET

Many psychopaths and sociopaths are very methodical and well organized so the fact that he had planed it has nothing to do with being sane. Either way, for the sake of public safety, this individual should never be released out of prison or mental facility.


kelly   August 6th, 2009 12:06 am ET

You know what, weapon of mass destruction or not, if his full intentions were committed there would be a lot more dead innocent children. There are a lot of reasons that can be brought out to explain his behavior but none of them will be the real reason he did it. He is a cold calculated killer who's role models in life are past killers who made their impact on this world by taking innocent people with them. He is obviosly insane but not curable. There are people in this world who are not fit to be with the "normal" people in the world. Regardless of whether his mother left him, or he was beat as a child, or molested by a reletive; the man is full of hatred that will only ever lead him to more adult criminal choices. He deserves what he sees that other people deserve – death. I have two chidren and I will be damned if some high school student or former student ticked off at his family or his non existed girlfriend is going to take them from me, they will be homeschooled and be involved with outside activities in th church and the school. God willing they will not be projected to such disturbing people as long as i can help it. The schools are overwhelmed with these situations (and can not react in time, I have worked to hard putting my education aside to raise two beautiful children with their lives just beginning, that will not be my mistake. But i am sure that the justice system will find away to make the rest of his life very comfortable (using our tax dollars) with his outside time, served meals and lots of others wackos for him to make friends with in prison. GOD PROTECT OUR CHILDREN!!! It has to be getting pretty bad when a true christian who believes in forgiveness for all your neighbors is realizing that we all need to start just getting these people out of society and in a place where they can not harm others you know like the electric chair.


LauraTheresa   August 6th, 2009 7:37 am ET

Comments from people saying "where were the parents" are so silly. Yes,he murdered his father–his mom lost all control over this troubled,disturbed man.how many kids are involved in crime & street shootings & drugs or sit locked up behind computers & video games–we can not always "blame the parents". This man is mentally ill & fell between the cracks as far as getting help & treatment–sad situation all around


Cy   August 6th, 2009 6:46 pm ET

He knew right from wrong.He knew his actions would be harmful. He might be sick but not insaine.Sounds more like he wanted vengance on inocent people because he chose to be a looser.


RO-   August 7th, 2009 9:03 am ET

I have one question – where were his parents before it got to this level! No-one saw this coming???????


RO-   August 7th, 2009 10:16 am ET

ok, so if we can't fault him because he's disturbed, we can't fault the parents because they couldn't control him, we can't fault his peers because they didn't know, the guy at the gun store just "did his job" right???....so, who's fault is it? what should be his punishment? should there be a punishment???


john   August 7th, 2009 2:35 pm ET

ok, maybe i'm crazy now...but is this video looping? It seems like he's saying the same thing over and over. Isn't there a point where the judge should say...ok we've seen enough?


sam   August 7th, 2009 2:41 pm ET

he planned it. mission accomplished
he bought the stuff. mission accomplished
he executed it. mission accomplished
he made the how to video: mission accomplished
he's looking for national attention: mission accomplished
he's looking to be judged and insane and set free: mission failure. i hope.


sarah   August 7th, 2009 2:46 pm ET

If i here him say "i don't want to offend anyone" one more time...i'm going to choke him through my screen!!! you just SHOT and killed people...hello!!?! how more offensive can you get?


unknown viewer   August 10th, 2009 7:02 pm ET

I agree with Sarah, (hello, he just shot and killed people)
offend someone or not, it's not about us, it's about his action, he either goes to jail or serve him justice. Quit blaming the parents,omg.


Brittany   August 18th, 2009 2:05 pm ET

Can anyone tell me if this is death penalty case?
It seems like the Prosecution is going after special circumstances.


Courtney   August 26th, 2009 4:43 am ET

I agree with AndyF. I however think that instead of keeping him in prison, he should get the death penalty. One execution is cheaper than life in prison for the innocent people of this country that have to pay to keep animals like him alive.


willie   September 20th, 2009 11:10 am ET

For those that asked where the parents are, if you read the article the dad was KILLED! Also, there was a comment on how/where did he get the gun? He's 21 and can purchase a firearm in most states.... The question there is if he's got all these mental issues, who did the background check?


Anonymous   October 18th, 2009 11:40 am ET

Isn't this the same kid who's dad bought and trained him to use the weapons after he was let out of a mental hospital? This kid is definitely mentally unstable, and his parents failed horribly.



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