Bond denied for defendant in Oklahoma politician's killing

AP News
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Posted: Aug 25, 2015 3:49 PM
Bond denied for defendant in Oklahoma politician's killing

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A judge denied bond Tuesday for a man accused in the weekend stabbing death of his father, who was Oklahoma's labor commissioner.

Christian Costello, 26, said nothing aside from giving his name during his initial court appearance, which he attended via video from jail. He wore an orange jumpsuit and had a red welt on the side of his face.

Costello is being held on a preliminary charge of first-degree murder in the killing of his father, Mark Costello. Authorities say he attacked his father with a large kitchen knife at an Oklahoma City fast-food restaurant on Sunday, and that his mother tried to stop the attack.

Special Judge Russell Hall told Christian Costello that he would be assigned a public defender once prosecutors had formally charged him. Court and jail records didn't indicate that Costello had hired an attorney, and a Costello family spokesman said he didn't know if one had been retained.

Police spokesman Paco Balderrama said it could take several days for detectives to complete their investigation and present their findings to the district attorney.

In a probable cause affidavit filed late Monday, police inspector Lyndell Easley said authorities interviewed at least 17 witnesses who said they saw Christian Costello attack his father, who was in his second term as labor commissioner and was considered a rising star in the state's Republican Party.

According to police, the attack began inside the restaurant and continued after Mark Costello ran outside, where his wife and the defendant's mother tried to intercede. At least one witness knocked Christian Costello off-balance with a vehicle, and others held him down until officers arrived.

Mark Costello, 59, was transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Court records show Christian Costello once served 90 days in a mental health facility and took mood stabilizers, and his family said in a statement he suffers from a mental illness, although they did not specify which one.

A Bartlesville native and the founder of a telephone software company, Mark Costello was apparently considering running for lieutenant governor in 2018.

Gov. Mary Fallin ordered all flags on state property to fly at half-staff through the week in Costello's honor. State law requires Fallin to appoint Costello's successor, who will complete the remaining three years of his term.

A funeral mass for Costello will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at the St. Monica Catholic Church in Edmond.

A candlelight vigil is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday on the south steps of the State Capitol.

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Follow Sean Murphy at https://twitter.com/apseanmurphy