(KRON) — The murder trial of Jose “Rafa” Solano Landaeta began in a San Mateo County courtroom on Monday afternoon. The 34-year-old Hayward man is accused of beheading his ex-girlfriend, Karina Castro, with a samurai sword outside her San Carlos home on September 8, 2022.
Judge Lisa Novak will preside over the high-profile trial. Jury selection is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, and prosecutors said it will take at least three days to go through the jury pool. Opening arguments are slated to be delivered on November 6.
Landaeta has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. He was remained behind bars ever since the grisly attack. Castro had a restraining order against Landaeta at the time of her death.
Castro was a 27-year-old mother of two daughters. Landaeta is the father of Castro’s youngest daughter.
The daughters were inside their mother’s apartment when Landaeta confronted Castro outside on Laurel Street, investigators said. There were several witnesses nearby when the ex-boyfriend slashed Castro several times with a sword, according to prosecutors.
Investigators said Landaeta put the bloody sword inside his car before he returned to the crime scene and was arrested.
Earlier this year, Judge Michael Wendler ruled that Landaeta was mentally fit to stand trial. The ruling was based on competency reports from two court-appointed psychiatrist who evaluated the defendant’s mental state.