California Man Found Guilty in Brutal Beheading of Ex-Girlfriend Using Samurai Sword

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A chilling case concluded when 33-year-old Californian Jose Rafael “Rafa” Solano Landaeta was convicted of first-degree murder for beheading his ex-girlfriend, Karina Castro.

The jury’s decision came on Monday, concluding a trial that exposed the brutal details of Castro’s tragic death.

The ghastly incident unfolded on September 8, 2022, outside Castro’s apartment following a heated argument between the former couple. 

Witnesses recounted seeing Landaeta wield a samurai sword, relentlessly slashing Castro multiple times until her head was nearly severed. Shockingly, he also severed one of her arms during the vicious attack.

The quick-thinking of Castro, a 27-year-old mother of one of Landaeta’s children, possibly averted further tragedy. Her father, Martin Castro, expressed gratitude for her actions, stating, “She kept him outside and away from her children. She’s going to be my angel for the rest of my life on my shoulder.”

California Legal Battle Over Mental Fitness

california-man-found-guilty-in-brutal-beheading-of-ex-girlfriend-using-samurai-sword
A chilling case concluded when 33-year-old Californian Jose Rafael “Rafa” Solano Landaeta was convicted of first-degree murder for beheading his ex-girlfriend, Karina Castro.

Law enforcement arrived at the scene only to find Castro already deceased. Landaeta surrendered himself to the police following the gruesome act, as reported by the Palo Alto Weekly.

At first, Landaeta entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, asserting that he was not mentally sound during the crime due to a diagnosis of schizophrenia. However, after further evaluation, he was found competent to stand trial, despite the initial claims of mental illness.

Throughout the trial, he chose not to participate, while his defense attorney, Robert Cummings, highlighted Landaeta’s mental health struggles and his alleged distress caused by threats from Castro.

Prosecutors painted a different picture, arguing that Landaeta’s use of “ninja sword” emojis indicated premeditation in the murder. They vehemently contested any claims of mental health issues at the time of the crime, emphasizing the cruelty and viciousness of the act.

Landaeta faces a potential sentence of 25 years to life in prison when sentenced in January. The case’s harrowing details and the severity of the crime have left a community shocked and a family grieving, awaiting justice for the tragic loss of Karina Castro.

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