Chief Investigative Reporter Jonathan Dienst on crime, corruption and terrorism.

Man Allegedly Beats Girlfriend, Her Daughter to Death With Hammer "Because They Are Witches"

The DA said he called 911 to report that he had killed them

By Sheldon Dutes
|  Wednesday, Jan 29, 2014  |  Updated 7:47 PM EDT
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A 44-year-old man is accused of beating his girlfriend and her 25-year-old daughter to death with a hammer because he believed they were witches who were casting spells on him, according to police and prosecutors. Brynn Gingras reports.

NBC 4 New York

A 44-year-old man is accused of beating his girlfriend and her 25-year-old daughter to death with a hammer because he believed they were witches who were casting spells on him, according to police and prosecutors. Brynn Gingras reports.

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A 44-year-old man is accused of beating his girlfriend and her 25-year-old daughter to death with a hammer because he believed they were witches who were casting spells on him, according to police and prosecutors.

The bodies of Estrella Castaneda, 56, and her daughter, Lina Castaneda, were found in their second-floor apartment in East Elmhurst, Queens, early Wednesday after the suspect, Carlos Amarillo, called 911 to report they had been killed, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. 

The DA said the mother was found face up on a bed with a pillow over her face when authorities responded shortly after midnight. There was blood on the bed and on the wall behind her; the rubber grip of a hammer was on the bed next to her body. The rest of the hammer was found in a rear bedroom, on the floor next to her daughter's body. 

Both women had apparent blunt force trauma and were pronounced dead at the scene. 

Prosecutors say Amarillo told the 911 operator that the two women had been "assassinated."

"Hurry they are dead. I killed them because they are witches, I want the police to kill me. I killed them with a hammer," he said, according to the DA. 

Amarillo allegedly also told responding officers that he killed the women. He was taken into custody at the scene and in later statements to police, allegedly said he believed both of the victims were "performing voodoo and casting spells on him," according to court documents. 

Amarillo was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree murder and one count of criminal possession of a weapon. 

The DA said it did not have information about a defense attorney for him.  

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