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Psychiatrist was unaware of Castillo's Columbine visit

Posted August 17, 2009

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— A psychiatrist who treated an Orange County man accused of killing his father and opening fire on his former high school three years ago testified Monday that she was unaware that he visited the site of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting massacre.

Alvaro Castillo, 22, is charged with fatally shooting his father, Rafael Huezo Castillo, on Aug. 30, 2006, and then driving to Orange High School with a cache of weapons and opening fire. Two students were injured in the school shooting, which ended when school personnel tackled the gunman.

Castillo has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

Castillo said in homemade videos prior to the shootings that he was obsessed with the Columbine shootings.

Four months prior to the shootings, Castillo attempted to kill himself. He was subsequently treated at a psychiatric hospital. After his release, he began to stockpile weapons and took a trip a trip to Colorado to the Columbine site.

Psychiatrist Karen Graham said if she had known about the visit, she would have been concerned because it showed “that he was thinking a lot about it."

Graham treated Castillo in the months prior to the shootings. She also said she was unaware that he was obtaining weapons.

“We had told him that he should not own a gun because of his past mental health problems – his suicidal ideation. It was not safe for him to have a gun,” Graham testified.

Graham said if doctors had learned this information they would have done more for him.

Toward the end of her treatment of Castillo, Graham said he was starting to show signs that he was connecting with his family more. She also noted he was displaying less psychotic symptoms.

Graham was called by the prosecution as a rebuttal witness in the trial, which began Aug. 3.

Testimony will continue on Tuesday.

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  • Space Mountain Aug 18, 2009

    Makes you wonder if mentally ill people can ever really be treated and helped. Maybe they can, but I think they have to choose to be helped. For some people, it's just easier to be crazy and not have any responsibility and work at getting better.

  • Fredrick Bimmell Aug 18, 2009

    Obviously there was ALOT they were "unaware" of.