DETROIT (WWJ) The man who shot at two-dozen vehicles along a southeastern Michigan highway corridor has been sentenced to 16 to 40 years on a terrorism conviction.
Raulie Casteel learned his fate this afternoon in Livingston County Circuit Court in Howell.
The 44-year-old geologist from Wixom already is serving a sentence of more than six years in a related case in Oakland County. Casteel was found guilty of terrorism in January by a Livingston County jury.
The jury rejected his claim that the shootings were the impulsive result of uncontrolled delusions and paranoia.
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.
Attorney General Bill Schuette defended the terrorist charges against Casteel saying his actions fit the statute on the Michigan books like a glove for terrorist activity.
“For three solid days a guy shot twenty-three times at motorists on M-52 or I-96 or Wixom Road and so people altered their daily lives in terms of picking up their children, dropping off their children, going to work,” said Schuette.
Casteel pleaded no contest in November to related charges in Oakland County.