(DETROIT FREE PRESS) - A judge this morning said she was sympathetic about his mental illness, but nevertheless sent I-96 shooter Raulie Casteel to prison for up to 12 years.
"Thank God you were a lousy shot because in this case nobody was actually injured," Oakland County Circuit Court judge Denise Langford Morris told Casteel as he stood shackled, in orange jail garb, as five armed deputies stood nearby. "Mental illness is a difficult challenge but it is something you have to seek help for before you engage in criminal activities."
Casteel, 44, terrorized motorists along the I-96 corridor for several days in October, 2012, shooting at cars across four counties. Following his arrest, he was diagnosed with a serious mental illness, that included delusions. Casteel told investigators he was shooting at cars because he believed they were part of a government conspiracy against him.
Today, Casteel sat quietly in court as the judge ordered him to spend 80 months to 120 months in a Michigan prison. He must also serve an additional two years on a firearms charge. The sentence was part of a plea deal with prosecutors, where Casteel was allowed to plead no contest but mentally ill to nine counts of assault with intent to cause great bodily harm, less than murder.
When the judge asked if he had anything to say, Casteel declined.
Earlier in the hearing, his attorney, Douglas Mullkoff told the court his client was a victim of mental illness that took away his free will. The illness struck Casteel in mid-life, with no warning, and went undiagnosed until after his arrest. "Raulie Casteel did not chose mental illness, it chose him," Mullkoff said, as Casteel's family sat quietly in the courtroom. "This was the hand he was dealt with out of the blue."
There were no victims in the courtroom. Casteel's family members declined to speak as they left the courtroom.
Casteel admitting shooting at cars in Oakland, Ingham, Shiawassee and Livingston county over the span of several days. Investigators believe he was responsible for 23 shootings.
Last week, a Livingston county jury convicted him of terrorism for shootings there. He faces up to life in prison when sentenced March 3.
Detroit Free Press