HOWELL (WWJ/AP) – A man charged with firing his gun randomly at vehicles along I-96 in Michigan is emotionally troubled but not a terrorist, a defense lawyer told jurors Wednesday.
Raulie Casteel, 44, is contesting terrorism and assault charges but not firearms charges in connection with the two dozen shootings along a 100-mile corridor in late 2012. Police say they matched his gun to bullet fragments recovered from victims’ vehicles in four counties. No one was seriously hurt.
Describing his client as an experienced hunter and target shooter, defense attorney Charles Groh said Casteel “was chasing demons” when the shootings occurred.
Groh argued that his client wasn’t trying to hurt anyone. “He can shoot where he aims,” he said. “He’s not 0 for 23 for nothing.”
One person suffered a minor injury. Scott Arnold was on his way to the World Series in Detroit when he was shot on I-96 in Fowlerville. Arnold said he heard a loud explosion that he thought was a tire blowout and then felt a pain in his side. He stopped and saw a bullet hole in the vehicle and blood. The bullet struck him in the buttocks, narrowly missing an artery and major nerves.
Michigan Assistant Attorney General Gregory Townsend told jurors at Livingston County Circuit Court in Howell a different story, saying Casteel was trying to shoot people in the vehicles he targeted.
Jennifer Kubiak, an owner of a Subway shop in Brighton, was “only milliseconds away” from dying when a bullet from Casteel’s handgun traveled through the door handle and embedded into the passenger door as she drove to Lansing to visit a friend, Townsend said.
Casteel pleaded no contest in November to related charges in Oakland County and is awaiting a sentence.
Court proceedings are scheduled to resume Thursday.
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