Crime

Castillo put thought into actions, psychiatrist says

Rafael Huez Castillo, a man described as a tyrant who ruled his household with verbal and physical abuse, uttered an unusual declaration of love to his son hours before his death.

Nicole Wolfe, a forensic psychiatrist at Dorothea Dix Hospital, recounted Alvaro Castillo's recollections of the day during her testimony in Orange County Superior Court.

Wolfe, an expert called by the state in the murder and assault trial, told jurors Tuesday about a conversation she had with Castillo in 2008, a year and a half after the fatal shooting.

Wolfe's account came on the 12th day of testimony in the case, in which Castillo's lawyers have mounted an insanity defense.

Castillo, in written and video accounts, confessed to killing his father before firing shots on Orange High School, his alma mater.

Defense lawyers contend that Castillo, now 22, suffers from mental illness so debilitating that he did not know right from wrong that day and cannot be held criminally responsible for his actions.

District Attorney Jim Woodall disputes that claim. He argues Castillo methodically planned a Columbine-style shooting at Orange High and plotted his father's death.

Wolfe, who analyzed the defendant in April 2008, said she rarely has had access to such detailed accounts of a defendant's thoughts and actions before and immediately after a crime.

Castillo filled journals, notebooks and videotapes with his darkest thoughts in the months and weeks leading up to the shootings Aug. 30, 2006.

He also wrote in his journal and shot a videotape after killing his father.

Mental health experts for the defense testified that Castillo was delusional that day. They said he thought he was carrying out a mission from God.

'I finally did it'

Wolfe testified Tuesday that sentences from Castillo's journal entry on that day showed he understood the consequences of his actions. There were no references to the religious "sacrifice" that the defendant told mental health care workers for the defense that he had been selected to perform.

"I just killed my father," Castillo wrote in his journal. "It felt good. I do feel a little remorse. I hesitated, but I finally did it. God be with him."

In an interview, Castillo told Wolfe that he got up on Aug. 30, 2006, after about two hours of sleep and drove his sister Victoria and her boyfriend to Durham Technical Community College.

When he returned to his Hillsborough home, Castillo had a brief encounter with his father before heading to his bedroom to take a nap.

"He said his father told him that he loved him," Wolfe testified.

Then at about 11:30 a.m., Castillo told the psychiatrist, the teen got a gun and shot his father, first in the jaw and then multiple times in the face and shoulder.

Castillo told Wolfe that as he shot his father he flashed back to some of the abusive times -- his father blaming his mother for his youngest sister's autism and his father deriding him for being overweight.

There also was a brief mention of a life insurance policy that his father had bought that would pay the family $71,000 upon his death.

Following a script

After covering his father with a sheet, Castillo then made a journal entry. He placed a homemade pipe bomb next to the deceased, mimicking a school shooter he had studied, and then plugged in "Girl Interrupted," a soundtrack from a movie about a girl diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. He set it up so "The End of the World" would play over and over, mimicking the actions of a school shooter in Oregon who had killed his parents.

Wolfe said Castillo told her he sent an e-mail to the principal of the Columbine school where the mass killings occurred in 1999, then left his journals on his bed and drove the family SUV to Orange High.

There, the defendant set off cherry bombs, mimicking the Colorado school shooters, and fired weapons.

Wolfe, who continues with testimony today, said she was amazed by details he provided.

Although he was on two medications for depression and one anti-psychotic when she interviewed him, she did not think he suffered from psychoses.

The defense team will get to cross-examine Wolfe and then bring in its own witnesses to rebut testimony offered by the state's witnesses.

Closing arguments will follow.

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