Christian Erin Costello was charged with first-degree murder in connection to the fatal stabbing of his father, former Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Mark Costello. NewsOK reports that the incident took place on August 23 inside a north Oklahoma City ice cream store.
The 26-year-old suspect was talking to his 59-year-old father when witnesses say that he removed a small knife and, without warning, began to stab the older man multiple times. The victim ran out of the store, pursued by Costello, who continued his brutal attack. According to KOCO, the stabbing ended when a witness rammed Christian with their SUV.
Mark Costello, who suffered numerous stab wounds to the head and neck area, was immediately rushed to an area hospital. He was later pronounced dead. Bystanders detained Christian Costello at the scene of the stabbing until police arrived.
— People magazine (@people) September 1, 2015
People writes that witnesses told police Costello and his father were arguing about something prior to the fatal stabbing. However, it’s possible that the intent to kill Mark Costello didn’t originate with an argument. Investigators have stated that they believe Christian intended to murder his father before meeting him at the ice cream store. How they drew that conclusion isn’t public knowledge at this time.
Family members have weighed in on the tragic event, stating that Christian Costello “struggles with a mental health disease.” No specific mental health issue was named. People claims that prior to the stabbing, Costello was admitted to a mental health facility for a period of three months. Although this information played no factor in Costello’s murder charge, it may have huge implications for the outcome of a future trial.
Christian Costello has now been formally charged by the state for the 1st Degree Murder of his father, Mark Costello. pic.twitter.com/odqd0A8niE
— Justin Dougherty (@DoughertyNews9) August 31, 2015
NewsOK notes that a first-degree murder charge in Oklahoma means that if convicted, Christian could be facing life in prison, life without parole, or even the death penalty. It’s very likely that a defense attorney (there’s no information indicating an attorney has been appointed to represent Costello) will argue he’s not guilty “by reason of insanity or mental defect.”
Even so, the crime was of a serious nature and the victim was a respected public figure. It’s also possible that pursuit of justice by the prosecution could outweigh any considerations of a mental health factor.
— KFOR (@kfor) August 27, 2015
Christian Costello is currently being held without bond in the Oklahoma County Jail, as reported by ABC 8. In addition to the murder charge, Costello also has a pending misdemeanor charge of “outraging public decency.” Christian allegedly exposed himself outside of an elementary school.
Do you believe Christian Costello is mentally ill? If so, should that play a factor in whether or not he’s convicted of first-degree murder? Please share your opinions below.
[Image Credit: Screen Grab From YouTube/NewsOK]