‘The Head Was Underneath The Car’: California Man Convicted of Beheading Estranged Girlfriend With Samurai Sword

California Man Convicted Of Beheading Estranged Girlfriend
Source: San Mateo County Sheriff's Office; GoFundMe

Landaeta was convicted of using a samurai sword to murder his estranged girlfriend.

Nov. 22 2023, Published 3:02 p.m. ET

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A California man has been convicted of beheading his estranged girlfriend after the two got into a heated war of words on social media.

Shortly before noon on Sept. 8, 2022, Jose Raphael Solano Landaeta, 34, allegedly attacked 27-year-old Karina Castro outside her San Carlos home in front of eyewitnesses, KION reported.

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According to the station, Landaeta and the victim shared a 1-year-old daughter.

At the time of the incident, the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office said the "stabbing instrument was used in the commission of the crime" and the "suspect is known to the victim."

The victim’s father, Martin Castro, said he did not like Landaeta “from day one.”

“He’s been nothing but trouble since the day he came into her life,” he told KRON. “When she got pregnant by him, my heart dropped.”

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In an interview with KGO, the victim’s grandmother, Danielle Gannon, alleged Landaeta is a “diagnosed schizophrenic on meds.”

“And he would use that as an excuse for his behavior,” she claimed, adding, “He drank excessively and you're not supposed to do that on those kind of medications.”


Family confirmed to the station that the victim had a restraining order against the suspect since April 2022 but said the pair continued to interact with each other.

KGO obtained Snapchat messages between the ex-couple that showed leading up to the deadly confrontation the two were in a fight and Karina Castro threatened to expose Landaeta’s sexual relationship with an underage girl.

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On Nov. 20, a jury found Landaeta guilty and he was convicted of first-degree murder in connection with the death of Castro, the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office announced.

Landaeta faces up to life in prison.

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Martin Castro told Redwood City Pulse the verdict is "bittersweet."

He said, "I am hoping to get some closure and normalcy back to life, or at least try. It feels like weight was lifted from my shoulders."


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