Teenager snapped before stabbing

Dozens of tearful family members and friends attend brief court hearing Monday for the man who killed his 11-week-old cousin. Click here for related articles, video and photos.
Jessica Cuffman
May 21, 2013

Denzel Castile, 19, had little to say during his arraignment in Sandusky Municipal Court. He told Judge Erich O’Brien he had no questions about the charges, and O’Brien set his bond at $1 million. 

Castile is charged with aggravated murder in Thursday’s death of Athena Castile, who was stabbed at least once in the head and once in the body. 

He’s also charged with felonious assault and assault on a police officer. His attorney is Erie County public defender Jeff Whitacre.

Click here for related articles, video and photos.  

Police said Castile used a steak knife to stab Athena when he was at his grandparents’ Dewey Street home late Thursday night. Relatives told police he snapped, and he had not been himself for several months.

Family members had previously taken him to the hospital for an evaluation after noticing his altered mental state, authorities said, but doctors had said there was nothing wrong with him.

Sandusky police went to the home at about 11:30 p.m. Thursday after dispatchers received a 911 hangup call. Officers arrived to a chaotic scene, with family members apparently trying to subdue Castile, who somehow managed to wrest away Athena and stab her several times. 

A family member zapped Castile with a stun device, and officers then sprayed him with pepper spray and used a Taser to zap him multiple times before he was finally subdued. He was taken to the hospital to have Taser barbs removed, then taken to the Erie County jail, where he has been suicide watch since. He’s also been under a physician’s care at the jail, Erie County Sheriff Paul Sigsworth said.

Still reeling from the tragedy, Castile’s family members cried silently as O’Brien read the charges. Castile appeared via video from the jail.

David Castile, Denzel’s grandfather and Athena’s great-grandfather, said it was not his grandson appearing on the courtroom’s television monitor. Something changed in his grandson since he graduated from Sandusky High School in 2012 and went to the University of Toledo as a freshman.

“There’s all kinds of things out there that will cripple, that can happen,” David said.

Family and church members have joined to support the Castile family since Thursday’s incident, and Sandusky police have been of great comfort, too, David said.

“They operated out of the spirit,” He said. “I couldn’t believe how comforting they were.”

The community’s reaction has been that of kindness, as well as a sort of rallying cry to create a movement to support children and young adults who transition from home life to being on their own, David said.

Athena’s body was sent Friday to the Lucas County coroner’s office for an autopsy. Erie County coroner Brian Baxter said he hadn’t receive any results from the examination as of Monday, although he expects the results this week. 

Athena’s death marks the first murder in Erie County this year. Last year was especially troublesome, as five people were charged in a record seven homicides in Sandusky.  



Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Remarks advocating illegal or violent actions.


I thought the kid was 11 months old not 11 weeks. No matter. It's still a sick and cruel act.


Yes your right it really doesn't matter....but I know the grandmother and mother and the baby was 11 weeks old....I also know the young man who did this and I can HONESTLY say the person that did this IS NOT the Denzel I have known for several years....It is a VERY SAD and AWFUL situation for ALL involved...Just keep PRAYING Sandusky....KEEP PRAYING


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights) and Remarks that discriminate based on age, race, religion, disability, etc..


This is a terrible situation! An innocent life take way too soon, and another young life ruined! It looks like the family tried getting the help he needed but the doctors didn't help him! My prayers are with you, Castile family!


Blame the DOCTORS?? There are LAWS you know? As an adult he can't be forcibly committed because the family says so. THANK LIBERALS for the deinstitutionalization of the DANGEROUSLY MENTALLY ILL. When there was still a state mental hospital system and fewer laws that protect the dangerously insane over the welfare and safety of the public HE COULD HAVE BEEN PUT AWAY AND TREATED



RIP precious little one...


I cant imagine the pain this family is suffering, my heart and prayers go out to the Castile family.( what a tragedy) It is unfortunate and borderline neglectful that they noticed that something wasn't right with the young man and the doctors said he was fine. I know that doctors cant diagnose everything correct all of the time, buy I feel like with the proper mental stability testing this could have probably have been avoided. Were there mental evaluations evaluations taken or a recommendation for mental counciling. SUPER SAD


stop it...place blame where it belongs...and that's with the monster that did this


Then go change the laws that for years have been enacted by LIBERALS to put the "rights" of the DANGEROUSLY MENTALLY ILL over the safety and lives of the public. Since you have decided that there is more than a 50% chance this could have been prevented, WHAT TESTING SHOULD THE DOCTORS have done and what testing did they do? You must have some inside knowledge that lets you establish a better than 50/50 chance the murder could have been prevented, enlighten us please?


Of course the family is going to blame the doctors and because of HIPAA the doctors can't even give their side of the story. If he wasn't showing signs that he was a danger to himself or others when the doctors saw him, they can't force treatment on him. He's an adult.


agreed...sick of people placing blame in other areas rather than at the monster that perpetuated this crime


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Remarks that discriminate based on age, race, religion, disability, etc. and Libel and defamation.

nothing new

Omg..your going a little overboard here...maybe you need a MH Eval. I couldnt even finish your post...And btw..we are not all genectically the same.for example.. there are several medications where dosages are altered according to your race/ethnicity because we are different genetically..amoung many many other things...you obviously have no medical background...Go preach your crap somewhere else...ill PRAY for you ;)

your master

Www. so it was at college that did it ture that dirty evil college ban all colleges


yeah genius it was the college....oh by the way that is sarcasm....it wasn't that monster who started doing drugs and drinking...no it cant be his fault...sarcasm again...is that because not going to college worked out so well for you...hopefully you were being sarcastic with your post


LIBERALS telling him he was oppressed, suppressed and kept down by the white man and he should rampage against society to correct the ills of white society?

your master

Is ikt true the family is planning on sueing the hospital?


yeah man maybe you can get in on that...have mercy...you done blaming everyone else yet...start looking at your friend Denzel start placing blame there


Given the demographics of the fambily, I would not be surprised at all. I am sure some AMBULANCE-CHASING LAWYERS have already been chasing them telling them WE CAN SUE AND IT WON"T COST YOU A PENNY UNLESS WE WIN!


I just don't understand why none of the adults in the house did not feel the need to remove Athena when the arguing started... The death of this child could have been avoided with that simple action...

your master

of the hundreds and hundreds of comments made about this topic this one makes the most sense by far




Hindsight is 20/20. Athena was obviously being protected but I don't think anyone was expecting what happened!

Simple Enough II

Because they just didn't think it could happen (IMO), and there lies the rub if he wasn't in control of hid facilities they should have been.
Damn shame
I guess I will be labled a racist for my post.


I agree and had this same discussion today. The moment there was any hint of danger, their first instinct should have been to get the baby out of the situation. Very sad situation, but I believe it could have been avoided. Only God knows why.


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).


Ahhh I thought it was a good plan : )


If its true that the family had taken this kid to the hospital and they said nothin was wrong with him , then as far as I can see Firelands Hospital should be held accountable as well


I tried to admit someone over 18 for mental issues but no way unless ordered by a judge. Thank you ACLU and HIPPA! The crazy people roam the streets among us. Lock and load!