Investigators Take Stand in Raulie Casteel Trial

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HOWELL (WILX)-- Those who investigated the highway shootings in October 2012 got a chance to tell a jury what they went through.

Forensic experts, sheriffs' departments and even the FBI took the stand during the Raulie Casteel terrorism trial Wednesday morning.

Casteel didn't seem surprised when FBI agent Anthony Hartman complimented him in the courtroom.

"He was a nice guy during the whole thing," said Hartman, referring to his first encounter with Casteel on November 5th.

Hartman said Casteel was being so nice that he actually handed over the 9 millimeter gun on his own accord.

"He started going back into the house. I told him Raulie stop, STOP. He said, 'Well I'm going to get it for you. It's in my bedroom closet.'"

Prosecution didn't disagree that Casteel complied with law enforcement, but not until after more than 30,000 hours of overtime was put into an investigation to find him.

"It became the focus of everything we did," said Major Robert Smith with the Oakland County Sheriffs Department.

The high priority of the investigation meant officers had to ignore other cries for help for the time being.

"Calls for service got delayed. We got to it all eventually, but minor crimes didn't get investigated," said Smith.

"It sometimes took us two days to get a patrol car out there. (One day) we had to put (officers) out on I-96 at every turn around," said Major Joel Maatman with the Ingham County Sheriffs Department.

It became the largest multi-jurisdictional investigation the state has ever seen.

"I haven't seen anything like this in 38 years," said Maatman.

The shootings terrified thousands, even those whose duty it was to catch the suspect.

"Personally, I was worried even though I'm an armed police officer," said Maatman.

"It caused us to second guess ourselves to have an outdoor activity close to where the shootings had occurred," said Pastor Brandon Gross with Lakes Baptist Church.

Prosecution will continue with testimony from a ballistics expert on Thursday, linking Casteel's gun to the shootings.

Casteel himself could take the stand as early as Monday, once prosecution wraps up at the end of the week.
Stay with News Ten as we continue to follow this developing story.

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