Oct. 15 Date Set For Nevada Execution

Nevada prison officials have scheduled Oct. 15 for the execution of William Castillo, sentenced to death for beating a retired Las Vegas teacher to death with a tire iron.

Planning for the lethal injection, which Castillo isn't trying to stop, will proceed despite the U.S. Supreme Court's decision Tuesday to consider whether lethal injections violate the Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

The high court's review involves two death row inmates in Kentucky.

"We're not going to delay anything based on the Supreme Court hearing the Kentucky case," Nevada Corrections Director Howard Skolnik said.

"There's no reason for us to do that. Mr. Castillo has requested that we go ahead, and we are going to honor his request."

Castillo, 35, was sentenced to die for the 1995 killing of Isabelle Berndt, 86, after working on a roofing job at her home and finding a hidden house key.

He and a woman companion returned, burglarized the home and murdered Berndt.

Castillo set the home on fire to destroy evidence, but he later admitted the murder to a co-worker and confessed to police.

His companion in the burglary and murder was Michelle Platou, 28, now
serving a life term with the possibility of parole for first-degree murder.

In an appeal rejected by the state Supreme Court in 2004, Castillo's attorneys argued he may have been the victim of abuse while growing up, adding that his father spent time in prison and his mother had been a prostitute.

Castillo's juvenile record includes runaways, emotional instability, attempted murder, arson, larceny, threats to life, destruction of county property and possessing an unregistered firearm.

By the time he was eight, Castillo had drowned his grandmother's dog, killed birds by smashing them against rocks, tried drugs and had been caught while trying to burn down a Las Vegas casino, according to court records.

Prosecutors said he went through every corrections and rehabilitation program Nevada had to offer by age 13 - including five stays at the youth reformatory in Elko.

As an adult, he served 14 months in prison for a burglary and then did another two years for a purse-snatching incident prior to Berndt's murder.

If he's executed, Castillo will be the 13th man to get the death sentence in Nevada since the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for capital punishment to resume in 1976.

All but one of the previous 12, Richard Moran, had refused to file appeals that could have stopped their executions.

Moran, executed in 1996 for two killings in a Las Vegas bar while on a drug and alcohol binge, didn't oppose legal efforts to keep him alive - but said he was ready to die.

The last man to be executed in the state was Daryl Linnie Mack, who received a lethal injection in April 2006.

Mack was convicted of the rape and murder of a Reno woman.


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