ABC7 I-TEAM EXCLUSIVE: Rafa Solano admits to beheading mother-of-2 San Carlos with a samurai sword in September
REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (KGO) — In an exclusive ABC7 I-Team interview from the San Mateo County Jail, a man admitted to killing a mother of two with a samurai sword, in a brutal daylight attack on a street in San Carlos in september.
In a bizarre twist to the case, Rafa Solano now claims it was self-defense.
We have to warn you, it’s a disturbing story.
Solano’s attorney questioned whether he had jurisdiction to stand trial, but after the judge ruled last week that he was, ABC7’s Dan Noyes decided to try to speak to him in the face of face.
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When news broke in September of Karina Castro, 27, being brutally attacked on a street in San Carlos, authorities lacked details.
“We can confirm that a stabbing instrument was used in the commission of the crime. This weapon is still in circulation,” San Mateo County Sheriff’s Department Lt. Eamonn Allen said in September.
Now we have the full picture, straight from the accused.
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ABC7 News I-Team reporter Dan Noyes met Rafa Solano, 33, on the third floor in the east wing of the San Mateo County Jail. They don’t allow cameras or even pen and paper, so Noyes narrated the interview as soon as he came out.
Dan Noies: “And I saw Solano coming towards me, he was a lot taller than I thought and a bit powerfully built, a bit stocky. I explained that I was from Channel 7, that I wanted to talk to him about this what had happened, about his case. At no time was there anything on the table. When he started talking about Karina Castro, their time together and their daughter, a big tear formed and dripped down her cheek.
Solano told Noyes that he saw his interview with Castro’s father and grandmother and was unhappy with how they described his mental state. He told me he had been living with schizophrenia since he was a teenager.
“He’s a diagnosed schizophrenic who is on medication. And he would use that as an excuse for his behavior. He was drinking excessively and you’re not supposed to do that on those kinds of medications,” said Danielle Gannon, the grandmother of Castro.
Solano also said he wasn’t happy that Castro had started seeing another man.
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They argued in the hours leading up to the murder over the Snapchat messages.
She threatened to castigate him on social media for his statutory rape conviction 10 years ago.
Solano calls it “lip of the snitch” and warns “F*** around and find out.”
But there is more.
No Yes: “He insists that Karina Castro told him she hired people from East Palo Alto to carry out an attack on him, his mother and his brother.”
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He says he went to his apartment that day to try to defuse the situation. We asked him about the sword.
No Yes: “Is it a samurai sword?” Is not it ?
Solan: “Yeah, it’s a samurai sword. It was a decorative sword that my father had.
No Yes: “Well, that’s sharp, isn’t it?”
Solan: “Yes, it has a sharp edge.”
Solano said Castro came down from her apartment and retrieved a knife from her car.
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No Yes: “He says she got out of the driver’s side of this Volkswagen with the knife in her hand and she kind of walked towards him with that knife. And he claimed he had wielded that sword in self-defense. “
The district attorney was surprised that Solano was talking, and he dismissed this new version of events.
“We don’t believe this is consistent with the evidence we’ve been able to gather in this case thus far,” said San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.
No Yes: “Is there any indication that she had a knife?”
Wagstaff: “No, you know, it’s a case that didn’t happen in a closed room somewhere. It happened on the street in San Carlos, with a lot of people passing by, and a lot of people having witnessed this, which happened. We had no reports that she was armed with a knife or that anyone even saw a knife, let alone use a knife.”
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Solano says he hopes he gets a lighter sentence because of his mental health issues, or that he can serve out his sentence in a mental hospital.
“I understand what he wants. State prison is full of people who wish they had a lighter sentence,” Wagstaffe said.
Wagstaffe also cleared up some of the initial confusion over Castro’s injuries. He said he considers it a beheading, based on what happened that day.
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