Local News

Mother: Castillo asked forgiveness for killing father

Posted August 12, 2009 10:13 a.m. EDT
Updated August 12, 2009 5:31 p.m. EDT

— An Orange County man charged with killing his father and shooting at his former high school three years ago asked forgiveness for his father's death, his mother testified Wednesday.

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 shooting, which ended when school personnel tackled him.

Castillo has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to all charges.

In a statement Vicky Castillo made to investigators a week after the shootings, she said her only son told her he had asked for God's forgiveness for killing his father.

"Alvaro held and kissed his dad's hand and asked forgiveness of his dad and God," Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall read from Vicky Castillo's statement.

"Alvaro said, 'I killed Dad, Mommy, because God told me to. I sacrificed him,'" Vicky Castillo told investigators in relating a conversation with her son, according to her statement.

Castillo compared his father's death to God sacrificing Jesus and told his mother that she was free to live her life, his mother told investigators.

He said that his father appeared to be suffering after he was shot, so he shot him several more times to put him out of his misery, according to her statement.

"(I fired the shots) not with anger but with peace," he told his mother, according to her statement.

A medical examiner testified Monday that Rafael Castillo had been shot seven times, including five times in the face.

Vicky Castillo also told investigators that her husband might have deserved to die.

"Little by little, day by day, Rafael caused the end of his life," Woodall read from her statement.

Vicky Castillo and her daughter Victoria testified Tuesday that Rafael Castillo verbally and physically abused the family and that Alvaro Castillo was too meek to stand up to him. Vicky Castillo said that she called her son a coward because he wouldn't protect her.

As Woodall pressed Vicky Castillo on Wednesday to verify her statements to investigators, she said she couldn't recall exact details because the shootings happened three years ago and she was in shock at the time she spoke to authorities.

"Maybe I was confused. I don't remember really," she said.

Woodall also pointed out portions of her statement noting that Alvaro Castillo stopped short of shooting his father in April 2006 when Rafael Castillo headed off his son's attempt at suicide.

Alvaro Castillo told his mother that he "had the power" because he had a gun but said he couldn't shoot his father "because it would have been murder."

Deborah Grey, a licensed clinical social worker who examined Alvaro Castillo's family history, interviewed him in jail and reviewed the evidence collected in the criminal case, said several of his relatives suffered from depression and alcoholism. That put him at higher risk for mental illness, she said.

Alvaro Castillo also was exposed to domestic violence and pornography at an early age but had to bottle his emotions up because his father wouldn't allow him to express them, Grey said.

"Thoughts to Alvaro were as damning as actions," she said. "He was pretty much on his own to deal with it."

None of Alvaro Castillo's relatives seemed to note his increasingly erratic behavior after his attempted suicide, Grey said, adding that she thought he should have remained in a psychiatric hospital for longer than his seven-day stay and should have received more follow-up treatment.

Woodall questioned Grey for much of the afternoon on Castillo's extensive planning of the Orange High shooting and his desire to be recognized as someone associated with a school shooting. She acknowledged Castillo's need for recognition was an important factor but said she thought his concept of "sacrificing" students to save them from worldly pain and suffering was central to his thinking.