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Ax murderer pleads guilty but mentally ill in 2010 baby killing

It was a murder that shocked Las Vegas.

On Feb. 11, 2010, Harold Montague left his southeast valley home armed with a battle ax and attacked a woman and her baby as they strolled down the street.

Four-month-old Damian Avila Castro was killed and his mother, Sandra Castro, was severely injured. He also stabbed his mentally and physically disabled sister-in-law, Monica O’Dazier 20 times while she was in his home on San Pedro Avenue, near Sahara Avenue and Maryland Parkway.

And before he was taken into custody, Montague attacked a Las Vegas police officer.

On Wednesday, Montague, 38, agreed to spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole when he pleaded guilty but mentally ill to first-degree murder with use of a deadly weapon, two counts of attempted murder and battery on a police officer.

As part of the deal, Clark County prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty against Montague.

Deputy Public Defender Norm Reed said Montague plans to offer a full apology at his July 30 sentencing to the victims and their families for what he did and try and explain his delusions.

“He wants to tell his perspective. He wants to apologize and talk about the delusion and how it went down,” Reed said.

Reed said it was a long process to get to the plea agreement but “everybody recognizes he’s mentally ill and that life in prison is the right sentence in this case.”

Prosecutor Giancarlo Pesci declined to comment.

Since early in the case, Reed has maintained that Montague suffered from severe delusions and mental illness.

Montague had exhibited bizarre and unusual behavior in the weeks leading up to the incident.

During a hearing in 2010, Montague’s wife, Erricca, testified that her husband had not slept for at least three days before the attacks and that he was not properly eating or hydrating himself.

She said she would wake up at night to find him pacing in their home.

During the harrowing hearing four years ago, Castro, who suffered severe scarring from the attack, testified that she begged her attacker to stop. “I was begging him to let me go. He was mocking me. Every time he would hit me, he would laugh out loud,” she said.

A neighbor, Teresa Garner, who called 911 after seeing the attack from her bedroom window, ran out from her home and confronted Montague causing him to flee.

Garner recalled seeing “evil in his eyes,” when she confronted Montague.

Garner described the condition of the two victims after the attack. Castro’s mouth had been split, and her lower jaw was down on her chest, Garner said. Castro’s face was covered in blood. “Her face was gone,” Garner said.

Montague, who was supposed to be caring for his mentally and physically disabled sister-in-law, stabbed her first in their home. He then ran outside and attacked Castro and her son as they walked to the store.

A police officer testified that as he was attacked by Montague, the defendant yelled, “It’s God’s will.” Police subdued him with a Taser.

Montague remains at the county jail pending his sentencing hearing before District Judge Stefany Miley.

Contact reporter Francis McCabe at fmccabe@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Find him on Twitter: @fjmccabe

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