Parents of murdered teen angry over his killer being granted parole

“He did not come home that night and I look out and see the funeral directrors’ hearse outside,” said Paul Gavranovic.

“Sometimes you see someone and you think he looks so much like Steven,” said Carol Gavranovic. “You think it really didn’t happen but it did.”

Prosecutors say on March 16th, 1991, Paul Steven Castagnola and his now deceased accomplice lured 16-year-old Steven Edward Gavranovic to a secluded road, robbed him, and shot him twice in the head.

“A guy who said he killed my son just to see how it felt to kill somebody and then just doesn’t kill him shot him in the face, that’s an animal,” Gavranovic said.

While the 16-year-old lay dying alone, Castagnola headed off to have dinner with his family.

On October 1, the parole board approved Castagnola for parole.

“We just had a police officer killed and that guy was on parole,” Steven’s father said.

In a statement, the parole board tells us the reasons for his release include, “the offender has maintained a satisfactory institutional adjustment, and he participated in and completion of TDCJ-CID programs and activities in the individual treatment plan that should enhance chances to obtain and maintain full time employment.”

“The message this sends to other family members of murder victims who have offenders doing time for murder this is going to have a chilling effect on them because they’re going to wonder if their loved one’s perpetrator is next to be released,” said Andy Kahan with CrimeStoppers.

For some unknown reason the DA’s office did not submit a letter to the parole board protesting Castagnola’s parole.

That turned out to be a good thing Kahan says because that opens the door for him to ask the parole board for a special review to reconsider their decision to free the violent killer.

The DA’s office gave us no reason why they didn’t protest Castagnola’s parole but sent us a statement that in part says,”We have joined Andy Kahan in opposing Castagnola’s parole. Jurors felt he should serve a life sentence, and we agree.”