Sandusky, OH – A man accused of fatally stabbing an infant in front of police officers appeared in court Monday morning.
Denzel Castile is charged with aggravated murder in the death of his 11-week-old cousin, Athena Castile.
Police Chief John Orzech said officers received a 911 hang-up call shortly after 11:30 pm last Thursday. When the dispatcher called back, a woman said that everything was fine, but police officers went to the home in the 500 block of Dewey Street anyway.
“When our officers entered the house there was probably five of six subjects kind of on top of each other in a fight-struggle type thing that was going on,” Orzech said.
Officers ordered the people in the house to stop fighting, but they continued. An officer tasered one of the men, and it was at this point that 19-year-old Castile grabbed Athena and started stabbing her. Officers were eventually able to get the knife away from him, but he continued to fight them before he was tasered, pepper sprayed, and restrained. At the hospital, Castile bit a deputy’s thumb so hard that he broke skin.
Athena was rushed to Firelands Regional Medical Center but was pronounced dead Friday morning. Castile was too combative to appear in court Friday and was being held in restraints Friday evening.
Denzel Castile appeared on a video monitor with an attorney for his arraignment Monday morning. The court entered a plea of not guilty on his behalf, and a Sandusky Municipal Court judge set his bond at $1.025 million. In addition to aggravated murder, Castile is charged with assaulting a police officer and felonious assault. Nearly 40 family members and friends showed up for the hearing and cried as Judge Erich O’Brien read the charges.
Investigators are unsure why Castile stabbed Athena. He was being held at Erie County Jail on suicide watch.