A jury in New York has convicted Renato Seabra, a former Portuguese model, of the grisly murder of celebrity journalist Carlos Castro in a New York hotel last year, just after the victim had ended their relationship.
Seabra, 23, killed Castro, 65, in January 2011, and pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to a charge of second degree murder at Manhattan criminal court.
Casto’s beaten and mutilated body was found in his room on the 34th floor of the InterContinental Hotel on Jan. 7, 2011.
Seabra, then 20-years-old, had bludgeoned Castro with a computer monitor and wine bottle, and used a corkscrew to sever Castro’s testicles. Following the prolonged attack, Seabra showered, took about $1,600 from Castro’s wallet, and hung a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door, prosecutors said.
“This was a brutal and sadistic crime, where Renato Seabra bludgeoned, choked, and mutilated his victim before murdering him,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said in a statement following Friday’s verdict.
“But the jury’s verdict now, finally, holds Seabra accountable. It is particularly tragic that Carlos Castro was not only … betrayed by his spurned lover, but met a very painful and violent end far from his home,” Vance said.
Defense attorney David Touger argued that Seabra was not responsible for the killing because he did not know what he was doing was wrong, and that he believed he was on a God-ordained mission to slay the “demon” of homosexuality that he saw in Castro.
Castro, who met Seabra through Facebook, was a gay rights activist and journalist, writing about fashion and society for Diario de Noticias, 24 Horas and Correio de Manha.
Seabra, a native of Cantanhede, Portgual, is scheduled to be sentenced December 21. He faces 25 years to life in prison.