Michigan shootings suspect says ‘coded’ messages in Tigers radio call made him do it

David Brown

A man accused by police of 21 shooting incidents along the Interstate 96 corridor in southeastern Michigan testified that he heard "coded" messages in Detroit Tigers broadcasts that led him to randomly shoot at cars over a three-county area.

“It was to get rid of the demon, so to speak," Raulie Wayne Casteel said Monday.

Jim Price and Dan Dickerson call games for the Tigers radio network. In reality, they talk about Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander. But that's not what Casteel says he was hearing.

Casteel, a married and unemployed geologist who lawyers say suffers from a delusional disorder, has not presented an insanity defense. Closing arguments are to be presented Tuesday. Casteel already faces between 10 and 12 years in prison after making a deal with prosecutors in another county related to nine of the incidents. If the punishment seems light, it's only because — somehow — nobody was injured in his alleged rampage.

The Detroit News details Casteel's sad and bizarre claims of a government conspiracy perpetrated against him and his family since 2009, when he lost his job. And, as it relates to baseball:

Casteel said one of the shootings occurred while he was listening to a Tigers baseball game on his car radio and suffered anxiety at seeing a “long line of cars” driving in his direction.

He said he recalled listening to one pre-game broadcast discussing baseball hitters “aiming at shadows” or “shooting at shadows.”

“To me it meant shooting at cars,” he said.

Broadcasters sometimes talk about stadium shadows cast over the field that might affect how well a ball is seen as it's pitched but ... a pennant race is never as intense as what Casteel said he was hearing. The good news: Not only is medication helping Casteel not hear these messages anymore, but he's going to be behind bars for a long time. It's safer this way.

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David Brown edits Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rdbrown@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!

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