Man with mental illness gets 284 days of time served

Judge: Lack of meaningful mental illness treatment program in NMI needs attention

Gordon Aldan Castro, a 29-year-old man with mental illness who held his family hostage for seven hours at their house in Afetnas in 2015, pleaded guilty yesterday and was slapped with a sentence of 284 days of time served.

Castro pleaded guilty to assault with a dangerous weapon as part of the a plea deal.

Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho sentenced Castro to three years imprisonment, all suspended except 284 days, with credit for 284 days of time served. It means he is now a free man.

Camacho expressed concern as there appears to be no meaningful way to provide mental health care to defendants with mental illness and/or disability in the CNMI criminal justice system.

The judge noted that the Department of Corrections does not have mental health personnel (doctors) to administer proper medications, counseling and other treatment.

Camacho said the Commonwealth Healthcare Center is not equipped to handle defendants with mental illness and/or disability as CHC is not able to handle any mental patients who have violent behaviors.

Castro was placed on supervised probation for five years and ordered to receive mental health counseling/treatment during the entire period of probation.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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