San Carlos beheading suspect requests psych evaluation

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A man accused of beheading his ex-girlfriend with a sword in San Carlos requested a psychiatric evaluation. He declined to enter a plea during his first court appearance in Redwood City Monday afternoon. 

Jose Rafael Solano Landaeta, 33, is charged with murdering Karina Castro, the mother of his one-year-old daughter. Neighbors who witnessed the incident described it as a “beheading.” 

Karina Castro (Images via Facebook)

According to San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, 27-year-old Castro was attacked outside her apartment on Laurel Street at 11:50 a.m. Thursday. Landaeta, the suspect, fled but returned to the crime scene, where he was arrested 

During Monday’s court appearance, Landaeta did not speak. He kept his head down and stared at the floor. His defense attorney told the judge he needs a psychiatric evaluation before he makes a plea. 

The defense’s request was granted. 

“What exactly is his mental state? It is better to get this taken care of now, to determine whether he is competent to stand trial, than to do it in two years when we are about ready to start a trial,” Wagstaffe told reporters outside the courthouse.

The judge suspended criminal proceedings until a psychiatrist evaluates Landaeta’s mental state. 

Martin Castro, Karina’s father, said Landaeta deserves to be convicted of murder and sentenced to death. “I don’t feel he should continue breathing. I think the death penalty would be perfect for him,” he said.

City leaders organized a donation fund to help Castro’s children after losing their mother. The girls lost their mother to “horrific and senseless act of violence,” the San Carlos City Council and mayor wrote.

The girls’ grandparents are fighting to regain custody of the children from county officials.