Man pursues "not guilty" plea in child murder case
Jul 17, 2014 at 2:00 PM
The Sandusky man accused of fatally stabbing his cousin's infant continues to pursue a “not guilty” plea due to his mental health issues.
Denzel Castile, 20, made an appearance Wednesday at a brief hearing in Erie County Common Pleas Court Judge Tygh Tone's court room.
The proceedings centered on a recent report issued by Dr. Lucia Hinojosa, Castile's doctor at the Northwest Ohio Psychiatric Hospital.
“(That report) suggests he does meet the requirement for the 'not guilty by reason of insanity' plea,” said defense attorney Jeff Whitacre, who's representing Castile along with Peter Rost.
But before Tone includes the report in Castile's case file, Erie County assistant prosecutor Maryann Barylski asked that the state have the opportunity to review it, Whitacre said.
The attorney also said prosecutors may ask for a second opinion, because Hinojosa has been Castile's doctor since he was admitted to the hospital shortly after the stabbing.
Erie County prosecutor Kevin Baxter previously said he'll likely ask for a second opinion in the interest of being thorough.
Additionally, both the prosecution and defense plan to meet next month to hash out issues surrounding the new case development, namely concerns of the family and other legal matters.
Wednesday's hearing came about three months after Hinojosa said Castile was now able to aid his attorneys in his own defense. However, his ability to stand trial is a separate issue from whether he was legally insane on May 16, 2013, the day of the stabbing.
On that day, Castile had a brief tussle with family members at a Dewey Street home. During the melee, Castile allegedly stabbed his cousin's 11-week-old daughter, Athena Castile.
Family members later told police they'd witnessed a notable shift in Castile's mental status after he concluded his first year of college—Athena's death came shortly after he returned home for summer vacation.
Just as they did at Castile's April hearing, nearly 30 relatives filled the benches in Tone's courtroom on Wednesday.
Castile will return to the psychiatric hospital pending further proceedings.