Local News

Appeals court upholds Orange school shooter's conviction

Posted July 19, 2011 3:05 p.m. EDT

— The state Court of Appeals has upheld the conviction of a man who killed his father and then opened fire on Orange High School, rejecting a challenge to North Carolina's standard for an insanity defense.

Alvaro Castillo, 23, was arrested Aug. 30, 2006, after he drove to Orange High with a cache of weapons and opened fire. Two students were injured in the school shooting, which ended when school personnel tackled him.

While they were investigating the shooting, Orange County deputies discovered the body of Castillo's father, Rafael Huezo Castillo, in the family's home. He had been shot several times.

A jury convicted Alvaro Castillo in August 2009 on 10 charges in the case, including first-degree murder, and he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Castillo had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to all charges, and his lawyers presented testimony during the three-week trial from mental health experts and social workers who said he was psychotic at the time of the shootings.

His appellate attorneys argued that the jury should have been told to consider whether Castillo's mental state led him to believe that his actions were moral, not just whether he knew they were legally wrong. The appellate court rejected that argument.