The man accused of brutally murdering his ex-girlfriend and mother of his child last Thursday made his first court appearance Monday, as new details in the case continued to emerge.
Over the weekend we learned that 33-year-old Jose Rafael Landaeta-Solano was the father of one of two children in the home of 27-year-old Karina Castro last Thursday, when he allegedly arrived outside and brutally killed Castro in the street. Witnesses have said that Castro was beheaded by a long blade or sword, and San Mateo County sheriff's deputies had not recovered the weapon as of Friday.
Castro's father, Martin Castro Jr., spoke openly of his grief and regrets to multiple news outlets, saying that he had tried to keep his daughter from continuing to have contact with Landaeta-Solano, with whom she'd had a tumultuous two-year relationship.
The pair had reportedly broken up last year, and Landaeta-Solano was jailed for a domestic violence battery case, after which he ended up pleading no contest only to one count of disturbing the peace. A judge had issued a no-harassment protective order against him in April, regarding Castro, but a friend of Castro's, Monica Camacho, tells Bay Area News Group that Castro had reunited with Landaeta-Solano in June and had continued contact with him.
More recently, Castro had apparently started dating someone new, fueling jealousy from Landaeta-Solano. But we also learned via ABC 7 that the pair had exchanged heated messages on Wednesday on Snapchat in which Castro seemed to be threatening to tell Landaeta-Solano's friends that he had had sex with another man. It's unclear if that is connected to a rape charge that Landaeta-Solano served time for ten years ago, which Castro apparently also threatened to tell people about.
Landaeta-Solano also apparently had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, according to Castro's grandmother, Danielle Gannon. Gannon told ABC 7, "He is a diagnosed schizophrenic on meds. And he would use that as an excuse for his behavior. He drank excessively and you're not supposed to do that on those kind of medications."
A neighbor of Castro's, Nathaniel Chan, tells Bay Area News Group that he had overheard a conflict between Castro and Landaeta-Solano weeks earlier. Castro had reportedly shouted down to Landaeta-Solano, who was outside her apartment, saying, "Hey, what are you doing down there?” According to Chan, Landaeta-Solano replied, chuckling, “Oh, I’m just sharpening my knife." Landaeta-Solano also allegedly said something to the effect of, "I might come back and kill her."
Landaeta-Solano was set to be arraigned Monday in court in Redwood City, where the booking charge of murder will be read.
Photos via the family of Karina Castro