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Lawyer: Police Illegally Seized School Shooting Suspect's Computers

Posted February 23, 2007

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— The man charged with killing his father and opening fire at a local high school last August doesn't want authorities to get information off his computer.

Alvaro Rafael Castillo, 19, of Hillsborough, is charged with murder in the Aug. 30 shooting death of his father, Rafael Huezo Castillo, and faces a slew of charges in connection with a shooting the same day outside Orange High School that injured two students.

Castillo publicly acknowledged after his arrest that he was obsessed with the 1999 Columbine High School shooting in Colorado. Before the shooting, he sent an e-mail to the principal at Columbine High to announce his intention to commit a similar act and mailed a videotaped confession to a Chapel Hill newspaper.

But public defender James Williams on Friday said Orange County investigators shouldn't have access to information on two computers taken from Castillo's home. Williams said deputies didn't have probable cause to seize the computers.

Superior Court Judge Carl Fox said he would withhold judgment for another month on whether authorities could retrieve information from the computers and whether prosecutors could use any of the information.
43 Comments

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  • TrentRage Feb 24, 2007

    If you read the N&O today, you can see exactly what this is all about. The computer was about to be examined by the SBI. Since the judge said that they must wait on a ruling now, the computer must now go to "the back of the line" behind other computers waiting to be examined by the SBI, which is already backlogged several months.

    This is simply a ploy to delay the examination of the computer by the defense.

  • Iwasasoldier4u Feb 24, 2007

    Dr. Carolina
    I have one question for you sir or mame which ever the case may be, in the months or years before our bill of rights was written up how many times had there been some sicko that wrote a letter to a principle detailing what he was going to do,then shot their own father, and then went to a school full of innocent children {that by the way have the right to be safe according to the same bill of rights that you quote)and decide he is going to shoot up the place. I think we will find that the answer is zero and I am also sure that if it did happen like it does today the constitution as we know it would be different. There is absolutely no excuse for doing what he has admitted to publicly, he may of had a problem with his father and if so then so be it but why a school that is the problem. When people do what he has admitted to doing then the law should do what ever it takes to make sure he can not do it again.

  • ghimmy47 Feb 23, 2007

    Most of these people who are willing to come to judgement without benefit of law, a courtroom, testimony or experience would be passed over for jury duty. I'm reassured by this.

  • dragonmum Feb 23, 2007

    I agree with you, DrC, mvnull, gvmtcheese - those involved in this frenzied quest for revenge have forgotten what little they may have learned in high school civics - these protections exist for ALL of us. So this disturbed young man has confessed to these crimes. He is still entitled to a defense; he hasn't entered a plea. Thank heaven for lawyers willing to defend the poorest among us; even so, poor often equals guilty. Let the process work!
    But DrC, you're using words that are too big for these civics dropouts; - I think you really lost them with "ad hominem" even though it's perfectly apt for many of these comments. Finally, my friend psychobabble - if you or a loved one were arrested, I bet you'd be cozying right up to a "defense snake" (or would you walk your talk and defend yourself?)


  • mvnull Feb 23, 2007

    It is those "technicalities" that keep the US from being a police state. Instead, the police are professionals who keep your freedoms in mind when arresting or investigating you. If not, they know it will be overturned.

  • jotoho99 Feb 23, 2007

    Folks, I said it before now I say again, the justic system has gone to hell in a hand basket. public is afraid of what some might say . he is guilty so why wait, OH I know so tax payers can keep him up and pay for his defence lawyers. folks its your money.

  • DrCarolina Feb 23, 2007

    John Adams, signer of the Declaration of Independence, the Second President of the United States, and a contributing author of the current US Constitution represented the British soldiers charged with murdering “American revolutionaries” in the Boston Massacre – the soldiers were found “not guilty” on what you might call a technicality.

    Finally, the fact that the Judge didn’t bow to pressure from the general public and permit the evidence is probably a stronger case for the validity of Defense’s Motion to Suppress than a case against the motion.

  • DrCarolina Feb 23, 2007

    I am good friends with many public defenders, and to call them bottom feeders, stupid, or any other derogatory term is simply ignorant. Most public defenders are well educated and working in the office because they care about the poor, underrepresented, and protecting the rights of individuals in the justice system. Regardless, you show your ignorance in your inability to properly spell your ad hominem attacks.

    Most of our founding fathers were attorneys who were very aware of the potential power of the bill of rights. Regardless, they still felt that excluding illegally and unconstitutionally obtained evidence was worth protecting individual liberties. John Adams, signer of the Declaration of Independence, the Second President of the United States, and a contributing author of the current US Constitution represented the British soldiers charged with murdering “American revolutionaries” in the Boston Massacre – the soldiers were found “not guilty” on what you might c

  • Lee Feb 23, 2007

    This is just a sleazy, bottom of his class, barley passed the bar, public defender grasping at straws. If there were no PC for the warrant, the Judge would have thrown the evidence out today. Smoke screan.

  • TrentRage Feb 23, 2007

    Something tells me that our founding father didn't have letting evidence of a murder off on a technicality in mind when they drafted the bill of rights. Our system is broken. It offers very little protection for the innocent, but has plenty of provisions to let off criminals on a technicality.

    We don't live in a police state....we live in a country dominated by criminals where the punishment rarely meets the crime.

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