SAN MATEO COUNTY, CA – Jose Solano Landaeta, a 34-year-old California resident, has been found guilty of a horrendous crime. This guilty verdict came as a result of him using a samurai sword to publicly behead his 27-year-old ex-girlfriend, Karina Castro. The verdict was handed down on Monday by a jury that now holds Landaeta, who once shared a child with Castro, responsible for first-degree murder.
In an emotional statement outside the courthouse, Castro’s father, Martin, expressed some relief at the verdict but underscored that it provided only limited consolation as the loss of his daughter was still profoundly felt. He went on to describe Castro as selfless, kind, and a devoted mother to her two young children.
Despite an active restraining order against Landaeta, Castro reportedly maintained contact with him. During the trial, Robert Cummings, Landaeta’s attorney, commented that his client, diagnosed with schizophrenia, committed the fatal act during a psychotic break triggered by Castro’s alleged threats towards Landaeta’s mother.
At the early stage of the trial, Landaeta had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, but a subsequent evaluation deemed him fit to stand trial. In an unexpected turn, Landaeta stopped midway during his testimony and refused to participate in the closing arguments last week, according to San Mateo County records.
Although Landaeta’s lawyer described his client as a hardworking professional and kind-hearted person, he did not shy away from speaking about the regular psychotic episodes faced by Landaeta. The severity of the crime has Landaeta facing a potential 26 years to life imprisonment, with the possibility of parole after serving his sentence.