Jose Landaeta, 33, who beheaded ex-GF Karina Castro with sword was previously arrested for raping toddler
Documents showed that Landaeta allegedly raped a child aged three or younger in 2012 who was unconscious at the time of the crime
WARNING: This article contains graphic imagery and content that some readers may find distressing. Discretion is advised.
SAN MATEO COUNTY, CALIFORNIA: Jose Rafael Landaeta, 33, a resident of California, who allegedly beheaded his 27-year-old ex-girlfriend Karina Castro, was previously arrested for raping a toddler. Landaeta murdered Castro after she threatened to expose his criminal history. Now court files from San Mateo County, reviewed by the San Francisco Chronicle, have revealed more chilling details.
Documents showed that Landaeta allegedly raped a child aged three or younger in 2012. At the time of the crime, the child was unconscious. His charge was later reduced to unlawful sexual intercourse with a victim more than three years younger. He reportedly served only three years on probation. The charge was struck after he finished the required programming.
Around Halloween 2021, Landaeta was charged with misdemeanor battery and disturbing the peace in a domestic violence call. In April 2022, he pleaded no contest to both charges and was given one-year probation. He was recently arrested again for the brutal murder of Castro, a mother of two who was granted a restraining order against him in April 2022. Castro's family earlier said Landaeta is a diagnosed schizophrenic with a history of alcohol issues.
Landaeta beheaded Castro hours after she reportedly threatened to reveal his criminal record in a Snapchat conversation, ABC7 reported. "U wanna put a target on my back, ur homies gunna kno the real u," Castro reportedly wrote. Castro also reportedly said she would expose a sexual relationship he apparently had with a man.
A day later, the San Mateo County sheriff’s office learned that a woman had been beheaded by a sword. Police said at the time that the suspect, who came back to the scene, was detained by law enforcement. Castro's friends later revealed that the victim knew she was in danger. “She was talking about her baby daddy,” friend Maricela Macedo said of an Instagram Live video Castro posted before she was killed. “She said that he had tried to put a target on her.”
The San Mateo County District Attorney's Office told Patch.com that the weapon used in the beheading was indeed a samurai sword, "The defendant attacked the victim with a samurai sword, slashing in numerous times causing the victim’s head to be almost severed."
Landaeta appeared in court on Monday, September 12, for the first time since Castro's killing. His attorney claimed that Landaeta was unable of “assisting in his own defense", NBC News reported. Two doctors will reportedly be assigned to conduct a mental health evaluation of Landaeta over about eight weeks before proceedings can continue. The proceedings will continue even if it is determined that he is incapable of standing trial, but his mental health will be kept in mind.
If you or anyone you know suspects child abuse, you are urged to immediately call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to www.childhelp.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential and the hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.