Jose Rafael Solano Landaeta, a Northern California man, has been found guilty of first-degree murder for beheading his girlfriend with a samurai sword on a city street in September 2022.
The big picture: Monday, a San Mateo County jury found an “aggravating factor” that Solano Landaeta used a sword in killing Karina Castro, the 27-year-old mother of his one-year-old daughter.
- The next day the jury found four other aggravating factors, including that Solano Landaeta caused great bodily injury.
- Witnesses testified that they saw the couple arguing in the street before Solano retrieved a sword from his car and attacked Castro as she tried to escape.
- The prosecution argued that Solano killed Castro out of vengeance as their relationship deteriorated into threats and insults.
- The defense claimed that Solano has schizophrenia, was not taking his medication, and attacked Castro after she attacked him with a small knife.
- The jury’s finding of aggravating factors could impact Solano’s sentence, which is set to be determined on January 9, 2024. He may face 26 years to life in prison.