SAN CARLOS, Calif. – A man in California who acknowledged beheading the mother of his child out in the open with a samurai sword in September 2022, while claiming self-defense, has been convicted of murder.
Karina Castro, 27, was slaughtered by 33-year-old Jose Rafael “Rafa” Solano Landaeta on Sept. 8, 2022, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office. On Monday, a jury agreed with prosecutors and found him guilty of the grisly homicide, Law&Crime reported.
The horrifying daytime butchery occurred on the corner of Laurel Street and Magnolia Avenue in the City of San Carlos, which is situated about 25 miles south of San Francisco.
Solano has never denied that he killed Castro, but claimed he was defending himself in the process, Law&Crime previously reported.
“The head was underneath the car and she was laying in the back of the car — just severed,” neighbor Chapel Thorborne told KGO-TV last year. “And they covered her up.”
Despite Solano first entering a not guilty plea by reason of insanity, he was later deemed competent to stand trial. As a result, he then claimed he was not guilty due to self-defense.
However, prosecutors were able to establish premeditation for the samurai sword killing based upon several factors, including witness statements and personal text messages.
Furthermore, multiple medical professionals testified there was no link between Solano’s mental health issues and the brutal murder.
“This crime was vicious,” prosecutor Josh Stauffer said during trial. “This crime was cruel. There is no credible evidence that the defendant suffered from any mental health condition on the day of the crime.”
Castro, a mother of two, accused Solano, her ex-boyfriend and the father of one of her children, of being a pedophile and a rapist in a series of private social media messages, which precipitated the ghastly homicide.
“My daughter is still gone,” Martin Castro, the deceased’s father said outside the courthouse during a brief press conference after the verdict. “My daughter was my life. I just want her back.”
Under California law, the convicted killer faces 26 years to life in prison when he is sentenced.