Accused San Carlos Man Goes to Trial for Beheading Mother of His Infant Child

SAN CARLOS, Calif. – The trial of Jose Rafael Solano Landaeta, 33, of Hayward, has begun as he faces charges for the brutal killing of Karina Castro, 27, in front of her San Carlos apartment on September 8, 2022. The defendant is accused of using a samurai sword to carry out the shocking crime, which left the victim, the mother of his 18-month-old child, dead.

Prosecutors are tasked with establishing the defendant’s sanity at the time of the crime, as Landaeta previously pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. The prosecution alleges that Landaeta used the sword in an act of vengeance against Castro. The trial, taking place in San Mateo County Superior Court, has seen emotional testimonies and graphic evidence related to the case.

Witnesses reported seeing an argument between the couple, during which Landaeta allegedly punched and severely injured Castro, ultimately using the sword to carry out the fatal attack. Defense counsel claims that Landaeta, who has a history of mental illness, was acting in self-defense, fearing for his and his family’s safety. The trial has sparked intense emotions among the victim’s family and friends, with Castro’s mother expressing her wish for witnesses to have intervened during the tragic incident.

The case has raised questions about the intersection of mental illness and violent acts, as well as the responsibility of bystanders in preventing such horrific incidents. The trial is ongoing, with the defendant facing the possibility of 26 years to life in prison. The incident has deeply impacted the victim’s loved ones, who are seeking closure and justice for the senseless loss of their family member.