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Suspect in horrific San Carlos beheading found competent to stand trial

Suspect in horrific San Carlos beheading makes 1st court appearance
Suspect in horrific San Carlos beheading makes 1st court appearance 00:36

SAN CARLOS – The man charged in the brutal beheading of a young mother on a street in San Carlos last year has been found competent to stand trial, prosecutors said.

San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe's office confirmed to KPIX on Friday that criminal proceedings against suspect Jose Rafael Solano Landaeta have been reinstated. Prosecutors said a January 26 report from the court-appointed doctor found the suspect was competent.

Landaeta has been charged with murdering 27-year-old Karina Castro outside her apartment complex on September 8, 2022. Prosecutors said Landaeta beheaded Castro with a samurai sword.

The suspect was once romantically involved with the victim and is the father of her youngest child. Castro had a restraining order against him.

A close friend of Castro's mother told KPIX at the time of the killing that Castro was outside her car and was putting her children in the vehicle when Landaeta approached. The friend also said that the suspect would constantly threaten the victim.

Shortly after the assault, the suspect returned to the scene and was detained. During his initial court appearance, proceedings were put on hold after his defense attorney requested that his client receive a mental competency exam.

According to jail records, Landaeta is being held in the San Mateo County Jail without bail. A preliminary hearing for Landaeta is scheduled for March 1.

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