BY JON CRONIN
An Elmhurst man was sentenced last week to two consecutive life terms for murdering his girlfriend and her daughter with a hammer in front of his girlfriend’s granddaughter in January 2014, the Queens district attorney said.
Carlos Alberto Amarillo, 48, who lives at 87th Street in East Elmhurst, said that he believed his girlfriend Estrella Castaneda, 56, and her daughter, Lina Castaneda, 25, to be witches who were casting voodoo spells on him that made him sick. The two women were found brutally beaten to death in their bedrooms.
Amarillo was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole following a June 2017 trial during which a jury found him guilty of two counts of first-degree murder and one count each of fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon and endangering the welfare of a child.
“This defendant will rightfully spend the rest of his natural life behind bars for fatally beating 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—but, fortunately, was not harmed,” Queens DA Richard Brown said.
On Jan. 29, 2014, police responded to a 911 call on 87th Street in East Elmhurst, where they found Estrella Castaneda on her bed face up with a pillow over her face in a blood-soaked bed with the bloody rubber handle of a hammer next to her.
Castaneda’s daughter was found in the rear bedroom of the apartment on her stomach with head injuries and a hammer lying next her. Castaneda’s granddaughter was found on the bed in her mother’s room.
Brown said that Amarillo called the police and said, “Two females are dead. They were 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.”
Upon arrival, police found Amarillo holding a Bible and walking from the home’s front door to the street. In further statements to the police, Amarillo stated that the women were “witches” and were “performing voodoo and casting spells” on him that made him sick.
Reach Jon Cronin at 718-357-7400 x125, firstname.lastname@example.org or @JonathanSCronin.