Mark Castellano

This is one of those cases that I have seen several different television shows discussing this particular case, including and episode of Dr. Phil that Mark Castellano tape two days prior to then confessing to the police that he had murdered his on again/off again girlfriend.  

The legalities of the case are not all that surprising, neither are most of the facts.  What is surprising a bit was the stupidity of the murderer, not that murderers are very smart in the first place in general but it seems he went to a lot of trouble to hide a body but then still gave enough information for authorities to focus on him in the beginning.  

If you are "all about true crime" like myself or even an amateur sleuth like some you know that there is a chain of people that are looked at when someone is declared missing, especially under strange circumstances.  First they look at the last known person to have seen the person; then they move on to current and former significant others.  It is just common sense.  In this case Mark Castellano all but admits he was the last person to see Michelle Warner.  Mark and Michelle had been on again/off again in their relationship over several years.  At the time of her disappearance on Saturday, September 22, 2012 they were living together in an apartment in Houston Texas but all friends and family said they were living together as roommates only for the sake of their three year old son, Cayden. Michelle had another boyfriend, and everyone, obviously including Mark knew it. It was not like she was hiding him from anyone or sneaking around. Some media reports made it sound as if she was stringing two men along at the same time but most accounts state that Mark and Michelle were not together as boyfriend and girlfriend.  A few days later when friends and family begin to get concerned about where Michelle could be Mark even admits to having an argument with Michelle on the night of the 22nd and says she walked out of the house with a bag and her phone and that was the last he saw her. Yet, her car was still at the apartment they were living in together.  Mark repeats this story to the police and everyone else who will listen.

Michelle's family is not buying it and they are clamoring around and making noise anywhere they can to find Michelle.  They know Mark is involved some way but he's not talking.  In the process of their making noise someone contacts the Dr. Phil show within days of Michelle's disappearance and they decide to look into the issue.  On Friday September 28th, six days after her disappearance Mark sits down with Dr. Phil for an interview.  He tells him much of the same story as he's told the police but quite often was already referring to Michelle in the past tense.  Two days later as Michelle's family are flying into California for their own interview with Dr. Phil they receive a phone call from detectives in Texas. Mark has come in and he has confessed to murdering Michelle.

Here is the story that Mark gave the investigators on September 30th....  He and Michelle got into an argument on that evening and that she "took a swing" at him.  Then he said they both fell while his hands were around her neck and he heard her neck snap.  He stated that their son Cayden was in the house but not in the room at that moment but did appear just after and saw his mother's leg dangling over the side of the bed. Castellano told officers that he told Cayden she was sleeping and he left the room.  Castellano says he then put a plastic bag over her head and placed her body in the closet of the bedroom.  He then got Cayden and they drove the eight hours to his parents' house in Odessa Texas.  Castellano says after leaving Cayden with his parents he drove back to Houston the following day and placed Michelle's body in a plastic container and then drove back towards Odessa once more.  He stopped in the town of Midland and dug a shallow grave in an oilfield in which he placed the container with Michelle's body and returned to his parents' home.  

Officer's in Midland were informed and a search was conducted where Michelle's body was in deed found.

At his trial that began in May of 2014 Castellano would claim that while he had killed Michelle it was in self defense and that it was not intentional.  The jury did not believe his story and he was convicted and sentenced to 27 years  and fined $10,000.  

I personally do not believe Castellano's story and that is not just because the whole "accident" thing sounds fishy and one of those stories you hear from defendants as they are making things up so they look less culpable.  As the spouse of someone who broke their neck in several places back in 2002 a simple "snap" does not kill anyone.  Back in 2002 when my husbands accident happened though I admit that when I hear broken neck I was convinced he was going to die because that is what you hear in television and movies.  If a portion of what Castellano said was true it is likely she was not dead until after she was put in the closet with a plastic bag over her head. There were reports that he was a very jealous and controlling person and this was why he and Michelle could not get along.  One thing that I am a bit surprised that I did not hear more about, especially during his trial was Michelle's past drug history.  Years before she had had issue with prescription drugs and had lost custody of her older daughter because of that.  By all accounts she regretted those choices and had turned her life around, but as we know that does not stop psychopath's such as Castellano from bringing up things as this to make himself look more of the victim.  Maybe it was brought up more than I realize or my research could find though because I saw very little pertaining to it.  That is a good thing considering that it was not a part of this crime but again I find it unusual as a defendant, and their lawyers tend to pull everything they can to make them look more like a victim so at the very least they can get a lighter sentence.

You can look at Castellano and just see the wheels turning in his head as he speaks.  He is right where he belongs and hopefully he stays there for a very, very long time. 

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