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Janesville man accused in Rockford killings

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GINA R. HEINE
May 11, 2010
— Police arrested a Janesville man Monday afternoon on two counts of first-degree murder in the killings of a former Janesville woman and her husband in Rockford early Monday morning, Rockford police said.

Janesville police arrested Alexander G. Castillo, 26, of 1604 Green Valley Drive, Janesville, just before 2 p.m. Monday, Janesville Deputy Chief Dan Davis said. The traffic stop was made in a parking lot at Milton and Mount Zion avenues, and Castillo was taken into custody for operating after revocation, he said.


Rockford police interviewed Castillo in Janesville before taking him into custody on the murder charges, Rockford Deputy Chief Greg Lindmark said. Castillo was in the Rock County Jail pending extradition, he said.


About 12 hours earlier, Rockford police responded to a home at 2108 21st St., Rockford, and found Christa R. Clark, 29, and Michael W. Clark, 34, dead as a result of gunshot wounds, according to a news release from Rockford police.


Christa Clark’s 7-year-old and 1-year-old children were also found in the home, but they were unharmed. The children are in protective custody, Lindmark said.


“I feel the two people were targeted,” Lindmark told the Rockford Register Star.


The Clarks knew Castillo, but Lindmark declined to provide more information. A press conference was being scheduled for this afternoon, he said.


The Winnebago County, Ill., coroner’s office will conduct autopsies Tuesday.


The Clarks were married in Rock County last year, according to public records. Christa (Ellefson) Clark attended Parker High School, according to the school’s yearbook.


Castillo’s online court records show at least six different Janesville addresses since 2004. His record includes multiple drunken-driving charges, including causing injury while drunken driving, substantial battery and multiple traffic citations.


The Register Star also reported that neighbors said the couple rented the house and lived there less than a year. Police were regularly called to the house, neighbors said, but they never expected to hear of a homicide.


For now, though, the yellow police tape and squad car parked in front of the 21st Street home seem out of place. The one-story brick house has flower decals in the window. A trampoline, swing set and basketball hoop fill the backyard.


The home is near a cul-de-sac and sits on a street lined with tidy homes, well-maintained lawns and neatly planted flowers. There’s no formal neighborhood watch group because neighbors say one isn’t needed.


“We try to keep an eye on one another,” neighbor Judy Bredeson told the Register Star.


She awoke Monday morning when police rapped on her door and asked for information about the shooting.


Bredeson has lived in her home for 26 years and hasn’t seen many problems.


“Except when something like this happens,” she said. “Otherwise this is a nice, quiet neighborhood.”


The homes surrounding the residence belong to a mix of older families with grown children and couples with young kids.


“It’s amazing how quiet and nice it’s been,” said Bobbi Devera, who has lived in her house on 21st Street for more than 30 years.


She and her husband raised their family there, and most people are friendly and know each other, she said.


“I didn’t see anything other than them getting along,” Devera said.


The Rockford Register Star contributed to this story.

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