A man who killed his ex-girlfriend with a samurai sword in California said that he committed the murder in an alleged act of self-defense.
Jose Rafael Solano, 33, who is currently detained at the San Mateo County Jail, told ABC7’s KGO-TV in an interview published on Friday how he killed 27-year-old Karina Castro, the mother of his child, last September.
ABC7 News I-Team reporter Dan Noyes visited Solano in jail, asking him to recount the events that happened that day. At one point during the interview, Solano told Noyes that he argued with Castro hours before the killing because she started dating another man.
According to Solano, they had a verbal argument over Snapchat in which Castro reportedly threatened to mention on social media Solano’s statutory rape conviction that happened 10 years ago, the news station reported. He then called her “snitch lip” and threatened her, “F*** around and find out.”
Solano insisted that Castro told him that she hired people from East Palo Alto to “carry out a hit” on him, his mother, and his brother, according to Noyes. Solano then claimed that he went to her apartment that day to reportedly de-escalate the situation and alleged that his ex-girlfriend came down from her apartment and took out a knife from her car.
Solano then alleged that he swung the sword in an act of self-defense because she was walking towards him with the knife in her hand.
“It was a decorative sword that my father had,” Solano said of the samurai sword, adding that it had a “sharp edge to it.”
Castro, a mother of two, was killed months after she obtained a temporary restraining order against Solano. Police said that law enforcement was called to the scene “by witnesses reporting an assault in progress.”
Law enforcement records at the time stated that the woman’s head had been cut off, with some notes indicating that “children are there, scared to come…want their mom.” Castro’s children were not present at the scene of the beheading and were inside the house.
In his recent interview with Noyes, Solano said that he wasn’t happy with the way Castro’s father and grandmother described his schizophrenia, which he claimed he had since he was a teenager.
“He is a diagnosed schizophrenic on meds. And he would use that as an excuse for his behavior. He drank excessively and you’re not supposed to do that on those kinds of medications,” said Danielle Gannon, Castro’s grandmother, according to ABC7’s KGO-TV.
Meanwhile, Steve Wagstaffe, San Mateo County’s district attorney, dismissed Solano’s recent account of events.
“We don’t think that that accords with the evidence that we’ve been able to collect in this case so far,” Wagstaffe told the news station.
When Noyes asked the district attorney about whether or not Castro had a knife as Solano claimed, Wagstaffe said that there were no reports of her holding a knife.
“No, you know, this is a case that didn’t occur in a closed room somewhere. It occurred out on the street in San Carlos, with lots of people walking by, and lots of people who witnessed this, what occurred. We haven’t had any reports of her being armed with a knife or anybody even seeing a knife, much less using a knife,” he added.
Watch the interview below:
Taking a head off with a sword takes strength – and practice.
This was no lucky shot – this was premediated murder.