A strange tale is unfolding over in a courtroom in Hillsborough about madness, an Evil Twin and Alvaro Castillo hearing the Voice of God.
When Alvaro Castillo was a teenage boy – he’s now twenty-two – he saw a new version of the movie Romeo and Juliet, set in a modern day city of Verona Beach where the Montagues and Capulets battle it out in a gunfight at a gas station.
Later, Alvaro told his cadre of psychiatrists when he saw that gunfight, that’s when his fantasies began – and that’s when his Evil Twin – ‘Red’ – showed up.
Alvaro’s troubles were only beginning: One night, babysitting a three year old boy, he found himself sexually aroused; then he went to a strip club and found it so vile he was repulsed; then he became secretly obsessed with Anna, a teenage girl at his high school.
On top of that (according to witnesses at the trial) Alvaro’s father, Rafael, was a two-fisted Honduran who was beating Alvaro and his mother – which led Alvaro’s mother to tell him he was a coward for not standing up to his father.
So by the time he was nineteen Alvaro had convinced himself he was both a potential pedophile and a rapist – plus a coward; then in his fantasies ‘Red’ turned into a monster – raping Alvaro and telling him he was going to rape Anna unless Alvaro cut off his own hand.
Instead Alvaro tried to kill himself.
But his father, Rafael, came home early from work and stopped him – which Alvaro saw as an Act of God.
He spent a week in the University of North Carolina Hospital, then, when he got out, went straight to Wal-mart and bought a shotgun; a month later he returned to buy a rifle and while standing at the counter saw a Sign from God – his eyes locked on a magazine clip identical to the one used by the Columbine killers. He left Wal-mart certain he knew why God had saved him.
Some how he got his mother to take him to Littleton, Colorado – where he visited the Columbine killers’ graves; then when he got home he named his shotgun Arlene and his rifle Anna (after the girl he was obsessed with) and slept with them at night and even filmed himself holding the shotgun, caressing and kissing it, as he crooned the Mickey Mouse song to the gun.
By now with ‘Red’ whispering in his ear Alvaro had decided killing the teenagers at his high school wasn’t going to be murder – instead he would be offering the students like Paschal lambs as a blood sacrifice that was going to send them straight to heaven and spare them the torments of temptation, sexual urges and paying taxes.
One August afternoon Alvaro walked into his living room, looked down at his father sitting on the sofa reading the newspaper, and shot him in the jaw;—when his father made a strangling sound Alvaro shot him five more times then covered his body with a sheet, filmed it lying on the sofa, then turned the camera on himself and said, I don’t feel bad. Now I have to die. Then slinging the shotgun over his shoulder and carrying the rifle and a pipe-bomb he drove to his high school.
When Alvaro opened fire the rifle jammed and he found himself staring at a Highway patrolman (who worked at school) holding a drawn pistol aimed at him; Alvaro screamed, Shoot me. You’ll like it – but ended up spread-eagled on the ground and handcuffed.
Now he’s on trial and, of course, his lawyer’s saying he’s mad as a hatter while the District Attorney’s hanging on by his fingernails saying even if Alvaro did hear the Voice of God in a Wal-mart that doesn’t mean he missed the fact Patricide was murder.
Toward the end of the trial I had lunch with my friend Richard, the Intellectual, looked across the table and asked, ‘So is he crazy – or did he kill his father because he just couldn’t live with his mother thinking he was a coward?’
Richard put down his fork. ‘Neither.’
‘You’ve got another explanation?’
‘You’re forgetting the Evil Twin.’
‘You mean the one who told him he’d be saving those kids from temptation (and paying taxes) by sending them straight to heaven?’
‘ I’d say,’ Richard added, ‘That fellow ‘Red’ sounds like the Devil to me.’