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Michigan files terrorism charge against alleged Interstate shooter

I-96

Michigan’s attorney general has filed terrorism charges against the man charged with a string of shootings along the state’s Interstate 96 corridor last fall.

Attorney General Bill Schuette on Dec. 20 announced that his office had filed terrorism, assault with intent to murder, and felony firearm charges against Raulie Casteel, 43, of Wixom, MI, for crimes allegedly committed in three counties in the state. 

Casteel was arraigned on terrorism and other charges on Dec. 24 in Livingston County District Court in Howell, where local reports said he pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The shootings along the highway rattled residents and had federal officials so concerned that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Detroit Field Division, and the FBI’s Detroit Division said on Oct. 29 that each agency would contribute $50,000 in reward for information leading to an arrest.

The murder charge stems from an incident in which a man driving eastbound on the highway from the Kalamazoo area to attend the World Series game in Detroit was injured.

Between mid-October and mid-November, reports of shootings came in from the towns of Wixom, Livingston, Walled Lake, as well as Ingham and Oakland counties. All are situated on I-96 that runs east/west across the state.

Casteel was arrested on November 5, 2012 and judges in Oakland County and Livingston County each ordered Casteel to undergo two separate competency and criminal responsibility tests to determine whether he is competent to stand trial in the respective counties.

Schuette said the criminal division reviewed evidence collected by the multi-jurisdictional task force formed to investigate the case, and worked with the prosecutors from Ingham, Livingston, Shiawassee and Oakland counties.  The Oakland County Prosecutor continues to handle the case filed in that county.

"These were acts of domestic terrorism against Michigan citizens and we are prosecuting them as such," said Schuette.  "I look forward to working with task force members and my colleagues from Ingham, Livingston, and Shiawassee counties to resolve this case and secure justice for the victims."  

According to the attorney general’s office, county-level charges previously filed in Livingston against Casteel were dismissed and replaced with the state charges. The charges pertain only to acts that occurred in Livingston County, said Schuette, but added that his office intends to enter evidence of "similar acts" from other counties under Michigan law.  The Attorney General, he said, reserves the right to file additional charges in Ingham and Shiawassee Counties, pending the outcome of the Livingston case. 

Casteel faces seven felony charges in Livingston County, including one count of terrorism –based on 21 attacks; one count of assault with intent to murder; one weapons count; one count of discharging a weapon from a vehicle; and three firearms counts. The terror and assault charges both carry potential life sentences, according to the attorney general’s office.

In Oakland County, said Schuette, Casteel is charged with 60 counts for incidents alleged to have occurred in that county.