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East Elmhurst man convicted of double murder, claimed victims were witches

June 8, 2017 By Jason Cohen

An East Elmhurst man who bludgeoned his girlfriend and her daughter to death with a hammer in 2014 was convicted of murder yesterday and faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Carlos Alberto Amarillo, 48, killed Estrella Castaneda, 56, and Lina Castaneda, 25, after believing that they were witches who were casting voodoo spells on him, according to the Queens District Attorney’s office.

Police were alerted to the murders when Amarillo made a 911 call shortly after midnight Jan. 29, 2014.

“Two females are dead, they were assassinated, hurry they are dead,” Amarillo said to the police when he called 911. “I killed them because they are witches, I want the police to kill me. I killed them with a hammer.”

When the police responded, they found Estrella in the front bedroom face up on the bed with a pillow over her face, with blood seeping into the linen and splattered on the wall. The rubber grip of a hammer was beside her body on the bed.

Police then found the body of Lina on the floor of a rear bedroom. She was face down with injuries to her head and a hammer was on the floor beside her. Lina’s seven-year-old daughter was in the home but was found unharmed.

“Acting in a violent rage, the defendant fatally beat to death his girlfriend and her daughter – who was the mother of a young child who also happened to be in the residence that night,” District Attorney Brown said.

“Thankfully, the little girl, just seven years old at the time, was not harmed during these deadly attacks. She will, however, be forever impacted by the absence of both her mother and grandmother in her life.”

Amarillo was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder, fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon and endangering the welfare of a child.

He is scheduled to be sentenced July 6.

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