Renato Seabra: Convicted of murder in NYC castration killing

Renato Seabra, a male model who had recently starred on a Portuguese reality TV show, was charged with second-degree murder after his companion, a celebrity Portuguese television journalist, was found castrated and bludgeoned to death in a New York City hotel. The journalist, 65-year-old Carlos Castro, had arrived in the U.S. in late December in the company of Seabra to see some Broadway shows and spend New Year's Eve in Times Square, according to a family friend.
Personal Photo
Renato Seabra
Personal Photo

(CBS/AP) NEW YORK - Renato Seabra, the 22-year-old former model who police say killed and castrated his 65-year-old lover in a Manhattan hotel room in January 2011, was convicted of murder on Friday.

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The jury did not buy the idea that Seabra was out of his mind when he choked, bludgeoned and mutilated Carlos Castro, a Portuguese celebrity-television journalist. Seabra had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, and his defense team said he was mentally ill.

A court-ordered psychiatric exam found Seabra fit for trial.

Prosecutors argued that Seabra and Castro were a couple and Seabra, eager for fame and fortune, was enraged that Castro had ended their relationship.

"It is no coincidence Castro's life ended at the same time he ended his relationship with the defendant," Assistant District Attorney Maxine Rosenthal said. "The motive is as clear as if it were written in lights on a Times Square marquee."

Seabra's mother disputed that the men were lovers. According to trial testimony, Seabra told doctors that he thought of himself as heterosexual but went along with the relationship because he thought it could help him, until it became too much.

His defense attorneys said the violence of the attack showed he had a psychotic break with reality and went berserk, believing he was on a mission from God to rid the devil of homosexuality from Castro.

Seabra allegedly used a computer monitor and wine bottle to beat Castro and then used a corkscrew to sever the man's testicles. Court documents say after the murder, Seabra showered and wandered the city for a while before taking a taxi to a hospital. Seabra also disabled the room's phone and took $1,600 from Castro before he left the Times Square hotel, prosecutors said.

Seabra faces the possibility of life in prison when he's sentenced Dec. 21.

Complete coverage of Renato Seabra on Crimesider