Castile ruled competent

Accused of fatally stabbing 11-week-old baby
Courtney Astolfi
Apr 17, 2014


A Sandusky man accused of fatally stabbing his cousin’s infant in May is competent to stand trial.

Denzel Castile, 20, made an appearance in an Erie County courtroom Wednesday morning for the first time since he was admitted to the Northwest Ohio Psychiatric Hospital last spring.

Click HERE for past stories about the Infant Stabbing

Castile allegedly stabbed his cousin’s 11-week-old child, Athena Castile, in a relative’s Dewey Street home May 16. After a brief tussle with relatives, then with police, Castile was arrested.

He was charged with aggravated murder, felonious assault and assault on a police officer, and a grand jury later indicted him on a charge of aggravated murder. And, given Athena’s age, he now faces the possibility of the death penalty.

Relatives later told police Castile displayed a noticeable change in mental status following his first year at the University of Toledo. Athena’s death came shortly after Castile returned home for summer vacation.

Castile pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity last summer.    In October, Dr. Lucia Hinojosa conducted a psychological evaluation on Castile and determined he did not fully understand his legal charges, nor could he assist in his own defense. Castile has remained in the care of the hospital ever since.

At Wednesday’s hearing, however, Hinojosa issued a new opinion after further evaluation.

Castile is now competent to aid his attorneys, Jeff Whitacre and Peter Rost, in his defense, Hinojosa stated in a report that Erie County Common Pleas Court Judge Tygh Tone read at the hearing.

One more key evaluation is necessary before the court proceeds with Castile’s case.

Because Castile entered a plea of “not guilty by reason of insanity,” doctors must now determine if he was legally insane when he allegedly stabbed Athena, Erie County prosecutor Kevin Baxter said.

If they decide he was indeed legally insane at the time, Baxter said he’ll likely ask for a second opinion in the interest of being thorough.

At that point, Castile’s legal proceedings will move forward, with the doctors’ opinions included as evidence, Baxter said.

In the meantime, Castile will continue his stay at the Toledo psychiatric hospital.

At Wednesday’s hearing, more than half the seats in the courtroom were filled by family of Castile and Athena. Some shed tears, while others could be heard saying “We love you Denzel” as he walked into the courtroom.



If he is so competent why not put him back in jail? This guy is so obviously sick!


Competent to stand trial doesn't mean he is well. He is obviously still a danger to himself or others due to his mental state, otherwise he wouldn't be hospitalized.
This young man is obviously very seriously ill.


Agreed^^. Put him back in jail.


Put him in jail, solitary. I have no issues with it. Are we supposed to feel bad for him?


I feel badly for anyone suffering from a severe mental illness such as schizophrenia. It takes a normally function person in the prime of their young adulthood and robs them of that very thing.
I also feel badly for ignorant people who have no understanding of what psychosis is.


I was not suggesting he be put in jail just asking why he is not if he is okay. I don't believe for a second he is competent.

JMOP's picture

I agree. You'd have to be in a nutcase state of mind to repeatedly stab a baby.


It's very rare for people to be found incompetent to stand trial, which means he must have had serious mental problems when he was first evaluated. They must have him somewhat stabilized enough that he can stand trial now but that doesn't mean that he is well mentally it just means he is able to understand the charges and not jeopardize his defense

AJ Oliver

Bad headline - the ruling was only that he is competent to assist in his defense, nothing more. I feel very sorry for his family. I dealt with two cases of adolescent onset schizophrenia while teaching at the college level - young guys (it's usually guys) go from being solid citizens and high achievers to waaaaay out there in no time at all.