Before police say Robert Castillo stabbed his wife to death while at Bible study, he was seen whispering something in her ear, according to authorities in Minnesota.
Corrina Woodhull, 41, “shook her head no,” then Castillo pulled out his knife, the man’s sister told police.
Three witnesses, including Castillo’s brother and sister, said they saw Castillo stab his wife 10 to 20 times, according to a criminal complaint filed in district court.
“Don’t let me die,” one witness recalled Woodhull saying.
Officers with the St. Paul Police Department were called to the home at about 9 p.m. Tuesday, March 21.
They found Woodhull “lying on the floor bleeding from injuries to her torso, chest and arms,” police said. Several people were holding Castillo, 40, down on the floor.
Officers immediately tried helping Woodhull, who said she was unable to breathe, according to the complaint. She was rushed to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 9:39 p.m.
Castillo’s sister told authorities that she was hosting a weekly Bible study when the fatal stabbing occurred.
She said her brother and his wife were sitting on a couch, “acting normally,” according to the report. She saw Castillo hold his wife’s hand and kiss her before the stabbing.
Castillo’s brother reported the man and his wife “weren’t currently together because they were having marital problems,” police said. He also told authorities that the couple had been at the home for about 90 minutes before the stabbing and that “there were no other signs of hostility between them.”
None of the witnesses heard what Castillo whispered to his wife before the stabbing, police said.
The sister reported Castillo used his hunting knife with a 6-inch blade, police said. She said he “had a thing about carrying a knife all the time to protect himself.” The brother described the weapon as a “huge, military-style knife.”
‘Is she going to be OK?’
Castillo was taken into custody, and while being taken to jail, police said he asked, “Is she going to be OK?”
He later agreed to speak with investigators, but when authorities asked what happened, Castillo said, “I don’t want to discuss,” according to court records.
“Castillo said he and (his wife) had been legally married for a couple of years, and they lived together in Golden Valley until about a month ago,” police said. “When asked why they no longer lived together, Castillo said he didn’t want to talk about that, and he wanted his attorney present when they talked. The interview ended without further questioning.”
But before investigators left the room, they told Castillo his wife had died.
“Castillo immediately replied, ‘No, she didn’t,’ and he shook his head in disbelief,” authorities said. “Investigators informed Castillo he was being booked for murder.”
An autopsy found that Woodhull had injuries to her face, chest and upper body, according to the complaint. One of the stab wounds “penetrated her left breast and heart.”
Her official cause of death is “multiple sharp force injuries” by homicide, police said.
Castillo was charged with second-degree murder with intent, not premeditated, records show.
Records did not list an attorney for Castillo who could comment on his behalf.
Authorities said Castillo had an active warrant out for his arrest along with a warrant after “failing to appear at a pretrial on assault in the fourth degree charges in Washington County District Court.”
Castillo had harmed a prison guard while serving time in the Department of Corrections at Stillwater, officials said.
The man also has eight previous felony convictions, including assault in the first degree.
He has beat the “purported mother of his child” with a hammer, police said, and he has stabbed a roommate with a knife.
‘Leaves behind a legacy’
Woodhull worked for Juel Fairbanks Recovery Services, a substance use disorder treatment facility, before she was killed.
“Corrina had so much light and she spread that light and positivity each and every day to our clients and staff,” according to a Facebook post from the facility. “Corrina was a force to be reckoned with. She had so much strength and was strong minded. She had a huge heart and genuinely wanted to help others. She leaves behind a legacy here at Juel Fairbanks and she will be truly missed.”
“I lost a sister, a friend one of my best of friends last night,” Melissa Flores wrote on Facebook. “She was amazing (and) had a love for God. Not only was she loved she played an important part in my life! (And) I will miss her Heaven gained another angel.”
“It angers me to my core that things like this happen, but I know she is at complete peace with Jesus in heaven,” Ellen Hawthorne Webster said. “She had the most beautiful smile and an incredible peace and kindness about her. She passionately loved God and worshipped in pure truth and love for her Savior. She was always serving and always loving on others. She loved her kids and was always striving to give her very best to them. It’s unreal that she is gone, and I will miss her deeply. My heart aches that this stuff is real and happens to those close to us.”
If you are experiencing domestic violence and need someone to talk to, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline for support at 1-800-799-7233 or text “START” to 88788.
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