Lawyer says client accused in beheading might be insane

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BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer 

An attorney representing the man accused of beheading his ex-girlfriend with a samurai sword in San Carlos questioned in court today (Sept. 12) whether his client is mentally fit to stand trial. 

Jose Rafael Solano Landaeta appeared in court yesterday and was charged with murder of Karina Marie Castro, 27, on Sept. 8 on a residential street in San Carlos. 

His attorney, Robert Cummings requested two doctors be appointed to Landaeta to determine if he is mentally fit to stand trial and other court proceedings. Two doctors will be appointed tomorrow (Sept. 13). It will take about eight weeks for the case to be resolved. 

Meanwhile, Landaeta remains in jail and is ineligible for bail. 

District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe confirmed yesterday that the murder weapon was Landaeta’s samurai sword. It was found in his car a few blocks away from where he allegedly struck down Castro during an “intense” argument, according to the DA. 

Court Commissioner Sarah Burdick signed off on two restraining orders, keeping Landaeta away from Castro’s two daughters, 1 and 7. Castro and Landaeta share the younger child, according to Castro’s family. 

Landaeta’s attorney, Cummings, represented Landaeta in a case spurring from an October 2021 incident between Landaeta and Castro.

In that case, Landaeta was charged with misdemeanor domestic violence and disturbing the victim’s peace. Landaeta took a plea bargain on April 14 to one year of probation after pleading no contest to disturbing the peace of the victim.

As a result of that case, there was a no-harassment order filed between Landaeta and Castro. However, Castro’s father, Martin Castro, told reporters Friday that Landaeta broke the restraining order regularly. Landaeta was arrested in the summer of 2012 for raping an unconscious person under 18. He took a plea bargain in which he was convicted of statutory rape, court records show.

As a result, he was admitted to the county’s Pathways Program, which is the county’s mental health treatment court. He was discharged from the program in 2017, according to court records.

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