Judge finds Castillo competent for trial

HILLSBOROUGH An Orange County judge ruled Alvaro Castillo competent at a hearing Wednesday and both the defense and the prosecution agreed with the decision.

"The state has not raised any issues of the defendant's competency at this time," Orange County D.A. Jim Woodall told the court.

James Williams, Castillo's attorney, said based on regular interaction with Castillo over the last year, he does not have any reason to question his client's competency.

Judge Alan Baddour set the trial date for July 27.

As Castillo left the court room Wednesday morning, he waved to his mother but maintained a blank look on his face.

Castillo's mental competency has been questioned because he's received treatment for mental issues over the past two years, but the judge said - after reading the evaluations of psychiatrists - Castillo is able assist in his defense.

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

Investigators say Castillo was armed with pipe bombs, ammunition and two shotguns when he showed up on the campus of Orange High School on August 30, 2006. He was able to get past school security and shoot into a window on campus. A bullet grazed one student and glass cut another before he was stopped.

Castillo admitted to the crimes in video footage and police say he also talked about the shootings as he was being arrested.

Castillo told police, "He made me suffer all his life. Someone had to put him out of his misery" - an apparent reference to his father.

When an officer asked, "What did he do to you?"

Castillo replied, "He abused me and my family. He was abused too."

An Orange High School student who was at the school the day of the shooting recalled the event. "I heard gunshots and everybody was running, saying, 'Oh my God. Oh my God.'"

Since his arrest, Castillo has been at Central Prison awaiting trial.

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