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Teen accused of fatally stabbing Norwalk baby is not competent for trial, judge rules

TNS Regional News • Oct 26, 2013 at 10:07 AM

Five months after a former University of Toledo student allegedly stabbed his infant cousin to death, an Erie County judge Thursday found that the Sandusky man remains incompetent to stand trial.

Denzel Castile, 19, has been a patient at the Northwest Ohio Psychiatric Hospital in Toledo since May 22.

Described by his doctor as “profoundly mentally ill,” Mr. Castile has entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, through his attorneys, to a charge of aggravated murder for the May 16 stabbing of 11-week-old Athena Castile. The indictment includes a death penalty specification because the victim was under 3 years old.

According to Sandusky police, an altercation occurred at a Dewey Street home that ended with Mr. Castile allegedly getting the baby, running down a hallway, and stabbing her.

At the time, police could not explain the erratic behavior of Mr. Castile, who had been a good student in high school and was in his first year at UT.

His attorney, Pete Rost, said he waived Mr. Castile’s appearance at the brief competency hearing before Erie County Common Pleas Judge Tygh Tone.

“According to the doctors who are treating him, he is unable to understand the legal proceedings and unable to assist his attorneys in preparing a defense,” Mr. Rost said. “Therefore, under the statute, he is not competent to stand trial at this time. Under the statute, the state has a one-year period to restore his competency so that the case can proceed.”

A psychiatric report admitted in the case Thursday described Mr. Castile as “profoundly mentally ill,” although his doctors believe it’s possible he can be restored to competency.

Judge Tone scheduled a further competency hearing for April 16.

Shortly after the tragedy, Katia Castile said the baby lived on Norwalk's Woodlawn Avenue with her and her fiancé, Mike Stewart, and her daughter, Jenisa Meishon Castile, the mother of Athena.

"We want people to know Athena was from Norwalk," Katia said of her granddaughter. "She had lived her whole life here. "She had never been in Sandusky but that one time," Katia said. "She lived here in Norwalk. That was the first time I let her go some place else.

"This is really a loss for Norwalk," she added.


©2013 The Blade (Toledo, Ohio)

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