Murder charge: Woman told witness, ‘Don’t let me die’ after husband stabbed her during Bible study

A man fatally stabbed his wife during Bible study at a St. Paul residence, according to a murder charge filed Thursday.

Robert Castillo, 40, and Corrina Woodhull, 41, were sitting on a couch in the Payne-Phalen home when Castillo whispered something in Woodhull’s ear. After she shook her head “no,” Castillo pulled out a knife and stabbed her multiple times, a criminal complaint said.

Witnesses didn’t hear what Castillo said to Woodhull. The couple was no longer together because they were having marital problems, Castillo’s brother told police.

Woodhull had been trying to get away from Castillo, but he kept asking her for another chance, said Erin Honken, a friend of Woodhull’s for about 14 years who’d been her current roommate.

Family members of Castillo got him to stop stabbing Woodhull and wrestled him to the floor. Woodhull said, “Don’t let me die” to another person in the home who provided aid to her, the complaint said.

Police were called to the 1000 block of East Maryland Avenue about 9 p.m. Tuesday and arrested Castillo.

Officers provided medical aid to Woodhull, who said she couldn’t breathe. Paramedics took Woodhull to Regions Hospital, where she was pronounced dead about 9:40 p.m. Tuesday.

Woodhull leaves behind five children — three are minors and two are young adults, Honken said. Fundraising is underway for her kids and burial on GoFundMe.

Woodhull worked at a substance use disorder treatment facility in St. Paul, and often volunteered at non-profit organizations and ministries.

“She was always doing something for somebody else, always trying to make other people’s lives a little less broken,” Honken said.

What witnesses saw

Castillo’s sister, who lives at the residence, told police they host Bible study at the home every Tuesday night and Woodhull and Castillo came over for it. They “were acting normally” and Castillo held Woodhull’s hand and kissed her, the complaint said.

They’d been at the home for about 90 minutes before the stabbing and Castillo’s brother also said he hadn’t seen “signs of hostility.” When he returned from the bathroom, he saw Castillo standing over Woodhull with a knife in his hand.

Castillo’s sister said she saw Castillo stab Woodhull with a hunting knife with a 6-inch blade. She grabbed Castillo’s hair and tried to pull him off Woodhull. Other family members also intervened and disarmed him.

Two witnesses estimated Castillo stabbed Woodhull 20 times and another said it was about 10 times. An autopsy found she had a stab wound to her chest that penetrated her breast and heart, and additional sharp force injuries to her face, chest and upper extremities.

Castillo’s sister told police that he “had a thing about carrying a knife all the time to protect himself.”

She previously saw Castillo hit a different woman, the mother of his child, with a hammer. It also happened at her home. She said it “was a long time ago and she thought Castillo was getting better,” according to the complaint.

Castillo received a 10-year sentence for the assault with a hammer, which happened in 2014, and he was on intensive supervised release. At the time of Tuesday’s stabbing, he had an active Department of Corrections warrant for alleged violations of conditions of his release.

Suspect to police: ‘I don’t want to discuss’

While police were taking Castillo to jail Tuesday, he asked an officer, “Is she going to be OK?,” according to the complaint.

Investigators later asked Castillo what happened with Woodhull and he replied, “I don’t want to discuss,” the complaint said.

He said they’d been married for a couple of years and lived together until about a month ago.

When police told Castillo that Woodhull died, he said, “No, she didn’t,” and shook his head in disbelief.

Castillo has eight prior felony convictions.

In addition to the DOC warrant, he had a warrant for failing to appear in court on a charge that he assaulted a correctional employee while he was in the Stillwater prison in 2020 for the 2014 assault.

In 2001, Castillo was charged with first-degree assault for stabbing a 22-year-old man in his back, head and neck in Vadnais Heights. Castillo accused the man of telling his girlfriend he’d brought another woman to their apartment complex, according to a criminal complaint.

Domestic violence help

The Minnesota Day One Crisis Hotline can be reached 24/7 at 866-223-1111 or by text at 612-399-9995.

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