San Carlos Man on Trial for Samurai Sword Killing and Sanity

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – The trial of Jose Rafael Solano Landaeta, a man charged with killing the mother of his infant child using a samurai sword, commenced on Tuesday, Nov. 7 in Redwood City, California. Prosecutors are tasked with establishing Landaeta’s sanity at the time of the crime, rather than proving he committed the act.

Landaeta, 33, is accused of killing Karina Castro, 27, after a violent argument between the two in front of her San Carlos apartment on Sept. 8, 2022. Landaeta had previously pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

During opening statements, Landaeta’s attorney spoke about mental illness, paranoia, and self-defense, while the prosecutor presented evidence of Landaeta’s alleged intentions. The trial is being closely watched by the community, as the heinous murder has shocked the residents of San Carlos.

The trial took a dramatic turn when Landaeta refused to appear in court on the first day, marking an unprecedented event in the murder trial history of San Mateo County. Prosecutors recounted the chilling details of the crime, including how Landaeta allegedly used a samurai sword to fatally attack Castro as she ran away from him.

Despite the defense counsel’s attempt to paint a different picture of the events leading up to the killing, the trial continues to unravel the tragic sequence of events that led to the senseless murder of a young mother.

As the trial progresses, the haunting testimony and evidence continue to lay bare the devastating effects of this brutal crime. The family and friends of the victim remain hopeful that justice will be served, but the trial serves as a stark reminder of the pain and loss experienced by those affected by such violence.

With the trial in its early stages, the community remains captivated by the events, hoping for closure for the victim’s family and the swift delivery of justice for the heinous crime committed.