An attorney for a man accused of using a samurai sword to fatally stab the mother of his child in front of bystanders on a Northern California street requested a psychiatric evaluation for his client during a court appearance Monday.
Jose Rafael Solano Landaeta, 33, was charged with murder in last week’s killing of Karina Castro, the 27-year-old mother of his 1-year-old daughter in the city of San Carlos.
Solano’s attorney, Robert Cummings, requested a psychiatric evaluation of his client during the appearance, saying Solano may not be mentally competent to stand trial, San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said. Cummings could not immediately be reached for comment.
Wagstaffe said a judge on Tuesday is expected to assign two doctors to examine Solano and determine his mental competency.
Local media reported that Castro was beheaded by a sword in the attack outside the apartment where she lived with her 7-year-old and 1-year-old daughters. Wagstaffe said Castro had cuts all over her body and numerous cuts on her neck.
San Mateo County Sheriff’s Lt. Eamonn Allen said deputies who responded Thursday to the scene were upset “based on the nature of the crime,” and were receiving support. Witnesses were also offered counseling, he said.
“There were some civilians that did see it and those people were traumatized in their own right by seeing this horrific crime,” Wagstaffe said.
Allen said the suspect was walking within a couple of blocks from the crime scene when deputies detained him. He offered few details about the circumstances of the crime, saying only that the suspect used a “stabbing instrument.”
Detectives recovered a samurai sword used in the attack, Wagstaffe said.
He said Castro obtained a restraining order against Solano in April but that both she and Solano had broken it multiple times.
“In no way, I’m being critical of the victim in this. It’s something that we see constantly in the domestic violence arena,” Wagstaffe said. “It is part of the cycle of domestic violence”