Raulie Casteel (Detroit News)
Pontiac — A Wixom man believed responsible for at least 24 random shootings at motorists across four Michigan counties last year pleaded no contest but mentally ill to assault and firearms charges Wednesday in Oakland County Circuit Court.
Raulie Wayne Casteel, 44, appeared in court a week before he was expected to go to trial for the 11-day shooting spree along the Interstate 96 corridor that began Oct. 16, 2012.
Casteel faced attempted murder among 60 charges linked to shootings in Commerce Township and Wixom.
Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Denise Langford Morris rattled off a lengthy list of charges Casteel was agreeing to plead to on Wednesday.
He pleaded no contest but mentally ill on six charges of assault with intent to cause great bodily harm less than murder, each carrying up to 10 years in prison, and six charges of possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony, which carries two-year terms to be served consecutively with the assault sentences.
The other charges were dismissed.
Langford Morris has scheduled sentencing for Jan. 30
“A key part of this agreement was that he was mentally ill, and that’s what drove him to do this,” said Doug Mullkoff, Casteel’s attorney.
Mulkoff has said his client has been diagnosed as having a delusional disorder.
He said his client mostly shot at tires and the lower parts of vehicles and never intended to kill anyone. One motorist was wounded in the gunfire.
Assistant prosecutor Jeff Hall said he and Wixom police were able to contact seven of the nine Oakland County victims to inform them Casteel was seeking the plea agreement with the mental illness distinction and each agreed that he be allowed to seek that plea.
Casteel is scheduled to stand trial early next year in Livingston County for shootings that occurred in that county.
Those charges were brought by state Attorney General Bill Schuette, who also has jurisdiction in the spree shootings in Ingham and Shiawassee counties.
Casteel faces life in prison if convicted on those charges.