Local News

Alleged school shooter blames father for slaying

Posted August 7, 2009 11:02 a.m. EDT
Updated August 10, 2009 9:13 a.m. EDT

— 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.