Courts & Crime

Attorneys: Alleged father killer was obsessed with Columbine

HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. — Attorneys gave opening statements Monday in the Alvaro Castillo murder case.

Defense attorney James Wiliams did not dispute the basic facts of the case. Castillo is charged with killing his father, Rafael Huezo Castillo, at their Hillsborough home Aug. 30, 2006, and then firing shots at Orange High School, his alma mater.

Williams detailed Castillo and his mother's claims of abuse by the boy's father and the mental health treatment that Castillo received in the months before the shootings.

Williams talked about Castillo's obsession with the shootings at Columbine High School. Just weeks before the shootings, Castillo and his mother took a trip to Littleton, Colo., after he begged to go and said he would go by himself if he had to. Williams told how excited Castillo had been to see ordinary sites in Littleton such as a Chili's restaurant.

District Attorney Jim Woodall objected, saying Williams was drifting into an argument of Castillo's alleged insanity. But Judge Allen Baddour let those statements stand.

The case will be less about how Rafael Castillo ended up dead in the family's house. Instead, the trial could hinge on what was going on inside the head of Alvaro Castillo, who, according to his lawyer, suffers from mental illness so debilitating that he cannot be held criminally responsible for the crimes of which he is accused.

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