REDWOOD CITY — After courtroom drama Monday abruptly ended the protection’s case in the course of the defendant’s testimony, a person accused of beheading his baby’s mom with a sword final yr skipped out on his personal trial Tuesday, whereas his personal mom supplied emotional testimony in court docket.
Jose Rafael Solano Landaeta’s absence got here simply sooner or later after a weird courtroom episode that unfolded when the 34-year-old defendant was cross-examined by prosecutors: He denied committing the killing and even denied recognizing a photograph of the sufferer — 27-year-old Karina Castro — whereas testifying beneath oath. Solano then turned nonresponsive for the remainder of his cross-examination, prompting Decide Lisa Novak to recess court docket for the day.
Solano is accused of the daytime killing of Castro, allegedly utilizing a sword that he pulled from his automobile as the 2 had been arguing. Authorities say Solano used the sword to hack Castro to loss of life, chopping off one in all her arms and placing her no less than seven occasions on her head and neck.
After Solano went by way of his interval of nonresponsiveness on the stand and the jury had been excused, prosecutors famous their displeasure on the file, saying that Solano had resumed talking shortly after jurors left.
After Novak introduced that Solano “elected to not take part,” Tuesday afternoon noticed dad and mom of each concerned events — Solano and Castro — take the stand.
Castro’s father, Martin, testified briefly relating a number of specifics key to the assertion by Solano’s attorneys that he was appearing in self-defense.
Later, jurors heard from Eva Solano Landaeta, the defendant’s mom. He referred to as her on the morning of the slaying, she stated.
“I heard from my son when he referred to as me in a really unusual voice,” she stated. “I noticed one thing was occurring as a result of the tone of his voice wasn’t superb.”
She stated she left her residence — mere blocks from the crime scene — noticed a regulation enforcement officer and thought, “Oh god, what did he do?”
When she came across her son, she stated, he was standing in the course of the road, shaking and drooling.
“I grabbed him by his shoulders and I gave him a kiss on his brow. I advised him, ‘you probably did one thing, it’s important to flip your self in.’ ”
She took her son by the hand and walked him to the crime scene, telling a regulation enforcement officer that Jose was there to show himself in.
Whereas Solano’s lawyer targeted on Jose’s historical past of psychological sickness in his questioning of Eva Solano-Landaeta, prosecutor Josh Stauffer requested if she’d witnessed the defendant act actually violent throughout any of the episodes she cited. She stated she had not.
When Jose wasn’t taking his prescribed medicine to take care of the sickness, she stated, he was “fully uncontrolled.”
“Typically he’d give a response of screaming at me or his little brother,” she stated. “I attempted my greatest to get him again however it took me some time to get him again to regular.”
That timeframe of “getting again to regular” turned a key level of rivalry a day after Jose went silent within the courtroom.
Stauffer requested if Solano would generally snap out of his “catatonic state” and start talking once more after 20 or half-hour; his mom stated she had by no means seen him snap out of it that shortly.
Stauffer offered textual content messages from her cellphone that had been deleted, together with all different messages, by the point she turned it in to police for proof. Shortly after the killing, she despatched 4 textual content messages to her ex-husband — Jose’s father — in Spanish, advising him that the police would interview him and that he ought to “watch out what you say and don’t give voluntary data.”
The defendant’s mom claimed that she remembered sending these texts however didn’t keep in mind who she despatched them to. When requested why she deleted her messages, she stated “everybody deletes their messages.”
The unpredictable nature of Monday’s scenario led the trial to renew Tuesday morning behind closed doorways and with no jury as Novak determined whether or not or to not strike Solano’s testimony from the file. She finally determined towards it, San Mateo County District Legal professional Stephen Wagstaffe advised the Bay Space Information Group on Tuesday afternoon.
Wagstaffe additionally stated earlier Tuesday that calling for a mistrial was “out of the query” for the reason that protection was set to relaxation its case Tuesday afternoon.
The killing itself was not in query; the assault on Castro on a San Carlos avenue in September 2022 was seen by a number of witnesses. Certainly one of them testified on the trial’s opening, recalling that as she walked dwelling from brunch with buddies, she noticed Solano and Castro argue, then watched in horror as Solano bought the sword from his automobile and brutally attacked Castro.
Solano’s attorneys discarded a preliminary authorized declare that the defendant was legally insane on the time of the killing, as an alternative rallying round an “imperfect self-defense” argument over the course of the trial, which started earlier this month. The declare rests on a number of assertions — that Solano, described by his lawyer as a person who skilled power paranoia and schizophrenia, had gone to satisfy Castro in an effort to de-escalate an ongoing argument between the 2, and that he was motivated to defend himself by fears fed by on-line threats the sufferer made earlier than the deadly encounter.
Castro’s kinfolk and buddies — together with her father, mom and grandmother — have sat within the gallery for parts of the trial. They wept as prosecutors described the killing throughout opening arguments.
The trial is ready to renew Wednesday.