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Alleged school shooter blames father for slaying

Posted August 7, 2009
Updated August 10, 2009

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— Alvaro Castillo, the Orange County man accused of killing his father and firing a gun at his former high school three years ago, said his father abused the family and needed to "move on."

Jurors in Castillo's murder trial on Friday watched videotapes made by him for a second day.

He is charged with fatally shooting his father, Rafael Huezo Castillo, in August 2006 and then driving to Orange High School with a cache of weapons and opening fire. Two students were injured in the shooting, which ended when school personnel tackled him.

In a video played for the jury Friday afternoon, Castillo said his father beat his mother, his sister and him, especially when anyone disagreed with him.

"I wanted to have a loving father, but I didn't," he said, adding that his grandfather physically abused his father.

"I'm mentally ill. I know I am," he said. "Mental illness runs in my family."

Castillo said he needed to kill his father to put the family out of its misery and to end the family's cycle of violence.

"I know I'm going to cause my family pain, but I hope my mother goes back to her family," he said.

In a separate video, he showed off his father's dead body, which was covered by a sheet and bragged about shooting him four times.

"It felt good to do it. He won't be able to hurt anyone else," he said breathlessly.

Castillo said he made the tapes to explain his actions and said he intended the public to see them. He goes on at length about his fascination with guns and death as a means of escaping the world.

"Guns are the best invention in the world," he said in one tape. "To me, they're like stuffed animals, and I love playing with them."

The video closed with a montage of images of war, dictators and dead bodies as the Louis Armstrong song "What a Wonderful World" played.

Earlier in the day, the jury heard Castillo beg to be executed in a tape. He tells the camera that he doesn't want to spend his life in prison.

"If I get captured, I want the death penalty," he said. "I do not want to spend my life in prison. I just want to die."

Castillo faces the fate he dreaded if convicted. Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall isn't seeking the death penalty in this case. In making that decision, Woodall noted the current hold on executions in North Carolina and Castillo's mother's request that her son not be put to death.

In other videos shown to the jury Friday, Castillo outlines his plan to attack a school and shows his ammunition, including smoke grenades and multiple magazines of ammunition.

"Now I am waiting on my shipment of black masks and cargo pants," he said. "No one knows that I have all this stuff ... not until the day that I want them to see."

He also praises the attack on Columbine High School in Colorado, rants about a cruel and perverted world and says repeatedly that he wants to die.

Castillo, who said he was obsessed with the April 1999 school shootings at Columbine, was shown visiting the site of that massacre. A visibly excited Castillo tells the camera that he may have found the house where one of the shooters lived.

In other recordings, Castillo talks about his need to "sacrifice" students to save them from the harsh realities of life. “You must all think I am insane, scary,” he says.

“I must do this. It’s a calling ... and I’m going to do it.”

At another point in the video, he explains his attitude differently. “I don’t think I am a psychopath. I am just a teenager who is depressed.”

"I don't want to end up in the hospital," he says. "I just want to find peace."

Castillo has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to all charges. After the judge adjourned the court for the weekend, Woodall said he expected the prosecution to rest Monday afternoon.


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  • ranquick Aug 7, 2009

    I feel sorry for the family not this guy, it is very easy to blame someone else, remember "when you point your finger at someone there are always 3 fingers pointing back at you!"

  • Tax Man Aug 7, 2009

    This kid killed his Dad saying he wanted his Dad to "move on" - well, now it is time for a NC Jury to send this kid to his death by lethal injection - time to "move on"! Murder is Murder - needs the death penalty applied NOW.

  • shortcake53 Aug 7, 2009

    I have NO sympathy for this kid. He was looking for someone to blame for all his own shortcomings, made no attempt to better himself, only decided it was his right to make other suffer too.
    Do away with him, i dont care how.

  • animaenagerie Aug 7, 2009

    Tough call. He wants to be executed, should definitely be punished, and nobody wants to pay to keep him in a cage. Glad I'm not the judge... the verdict is obvious, the sentence somewhat more difficult.

  • jetset Aug 7, 2009

    He has no one to blame except himself. He sounds as if he is looking for attention with the videos he produced and the rants about why he did what he did. Excuses. He may be faking all of this "I am a psychopath, I am depressed,etc").Boohoo.

  • 37 Aug 7, 2009

    I came here to say what JimH said. The word "alleged" plays no role here. The only question is whether he is sane or insane.

  • lockinlady Aug 7, 2009

    I think it's obvious that he's mentally ill. The question is whether or not they'll find him not guilty by reason of insanity or hold him accountable for it by declaring him guilty but mentally ill.

  • whocares Aug 7, 2009

    I am waiting for the defense to put on their experts to show that he was mentally ill.

  • Professor Aug 7, 2009

    This is a tragedy. I feel sorry for this young man and his family.

    Really then you have a problem too dear.

  • JimH Aug 7, 2009

    Why does the headline call him the "alleged" shooter. So if he's found not guilty somehow does that mean he wasn't the shooter??? Shouldn't the term "alleged" be used when it has to be proven the accused is guity of committing the actual criminal act? Cause in this case I don't think the defense is saying "it wasn't him!".