Local News

School Shooting Suspect's Computers Off-Limits

Posted April 2, 2007 11:20 a.m. EDT
Updated April 2, 2007 5:57 p.m. EDT

— Authorities won't be able to take information from personal computers belonging to a man charged with killing his father and opening fire at a local high school last August.

Meanwhile, no decision has been made on whether to seek the death penalty against Alvaro Rafael Castillo.

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's lawyer requested last month that Orange County investigators be denied access to information on two personal computers taken from Castillo's home after his arrest. The deputies didn't have probable cause to seize the computers, the lawyer said.

Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall said Monday he wouldn't oppose the request, acknowleding they shouldn't have been taken because no reason for taking the computers was included in the search warrant application submitted by investigators.

"We don't think there was anything significant there to begin with," Woodall said. "We think there are other ways to get that information."

He also said he needs more information from the defense before deciding whether to pursue the death penalty against Castillo.

Defense attorney James Williams said he has new information about Castillo's mental health. The teen has been undergoing psychiatric evaluations since his arrest.

"I thought it was important to listen to what he had to say," Woodall said.

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.

The next hearing in the case is set for April 25.