SAN MATEO COUNTY — The man accused of beheading the mother of his child on a San Carlos street was found guilty of first-degree murder by a jury on Monday, the San Mateo County Superior Court said.
Jose Solano Landaeta was charged with the murder of Karina Castro with a sword on Sept. 8, 2022.
Deputy District Attorney Josh Keckley-Stauffer portrayed the killing as an act of "vengeance," with the defense arguing it was self-defense by a man with mental health issues.
Several exchanges between Landaeta and Castro on Instagram and Snapchat were presented, which showed a volatile relationship between them.
In the exchanges, Castro threatened to reveal information such as alleged sexual encounters that Solano had with an underage girl, while Solano sent threatening messages of his own on Instagram, including a ninja emoji followed by blood emojis.
He also threatened to take their kids away, messaging Castro, "Izzy will have my last name. You will have no right to my kid
Eyewitnessl. One witness, who was walking with friends on Laurel Street, where the killing occurred, tearfully stated, "The one thing I remember is she asked, 'are you going to hit me?'"
"I thought we were next," she added, shaking.
She testified that she witnessed Solano and Castro having an intense argument outside of Castro's apartment just before he went into his car and pulled out what was later identified as the sword used to kill Castro.
deputies were flagged down near Magnolia Avenue and Laurel Street just before noon by witnesses reported an assault in progress. When deputies arrived, they found a woman dead at the scene.
The San Mateo County Sheriff's office said the suspect returned to the scene and was detained. He was then identified by the sheriff's office as Jose Rafael Solano Landaeta.
The San Mateo County Superior Court said the jury will be deliberating on aggravating factors after receiving instruction.
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