In a daylight attack in September, a California man disembowelled his ex-girlfriend, a mother of two, on the street with a samurai sword.
According to the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office, a jury on Monday found Jose Solano Landaeta, 34, guilty of first-degree murder with the use of a sword in the death of Karina Castro, 27.
“All I can say right now is that I’m relieved, but not as much as I’d like to be,” Castro’s father, Martin Castro, told reporters outside the San Mateo courthouse on Monday. “While I’m glad he’s going to be in prison for as long as humanly possible, my daughter’s still gone. I don’t find a lot of satisfaction out of this, but I’ll take whatever I can get.”
“My daughter was my life,” he added in his statement recorded by FOX 2 San Francisco. “I just want her back.”
The trial, Martin continued, seemed to him “a joke” that “never needed to happen.” He went on to say that he “didn’t realise how brutally” his daughter was slain until the trial.
Martin described Karina as a “selfless” mother who “loved her kids more than anything.” Karina shared one of her two small children with Landaeta.
According to an earlier story from FOX 2, Karina was under a restraining order against Landaeta, but she kept in touch with him.
Robert Cummings, the lawyer for Landaeta, told reporters on Monday that his client has schizophrenia and experiences psychotic episodes, “which is what happened in this case.”
“The victim in this case, God rest her soul, was pushing everybody she could and threatened [Landaeta’s] mother’s life. … That drove him to go over there and commit the act that he’s now convicted [of],” Cummings said.
The suspect at the time entered a not guilty by reason of insanity plea during his arraignment, but he was eventually found to be fit to stand trial. He continued with his own testimony, but unexpectedly ended it midway, according to FOX 2.
Records from San Mateo County state that he declined to attend last week’s final arguments as well.
Though he had periodic “psychotic breaks,” Cummings regarded his client as a “working professional” and “one of the… kindest souls you’d run into.”
Landaeta has 26 years left to live. After serving his time, he will be eligible for parole, according to Cummings.