Northern California man found guilty of beheading girlfriend with sword

The man faces 26 years to life in prison.

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.
Related Posts