2017-07-12 / Front Page

Two Life Sentences For Elmhurst ‘Voodoo’ Slayer

By Liz Goff
A Queens Supreme Court justice handed down two life sentences on July 6th to a former East Elmhurst construction worker convicted of using a claw hammer to bash his girlfriend and her daughter to death in January 2014.

Carlos Amarillo, 48, confessed that he murdered the women because he feared they were witches and they had cast a spell on him, prosecutors said.
Police who arrived at the scene of the bloodbath on January 29, 2014 were confronted by Amarillo, who was pacing outside the home at 24-10 87th Street in East Elmhurst, waving a bible and screaming, “I killed them. I killed them.”
Amarillo was describing the chilling scene police found inside the home – the bludgeoned bodies of Estrella Castaneda, 58, and her daughter, Lina Castaneda, 25, both slaughtered by Amarillo with a claw hammer.
Lina Castaneda was found face down on her bedroom floor, prosecutors said. Her 7-year-old daughter was found in a bed just a few feet away from her mother’s body. The little girl, who was spared in the attack but witnessed the horror, was released to the custody of her father.
Cops said Estrella Castaneda was found bludgeoned to death in another bedroom in the second-floor apartment with a pillow over her head.
After he killed the two women, Amarillo called 911 and confessed that he “assassinated” them – and he wanted the police to kill him. He later told detectives he killed the two women because they were witches who he believed had cast a voodoo spell on him.
Police found the rubber hammer handle on a bed beside Castaneda’s body.
Amarillo appeared sullen, his head bowed as he stood in Queens Supreme Court on July 6th, where Justice Michael Aloise sentenced him to two consecutive life terms for the brutal killings that rocked the East Elmhurst neighborhood.
A jury convicted Amarillo on June 7th of charges including murder, weapons possession and child endangerment following a two-week trial.
“The defendant will rightfully spend the rest of his 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 District Attorney Richard Brown said.
Amarillo’s attorney did not immediately return calls for comment.

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