NY trial of model who killed, castrated Portuguese reporter nears end

Renato Seabra

A young model was either insane, or a calculating, quick-thinking murderer who feigned mental illness when he killed and castrated his lover, a prominent Portuguese journalist, in their New York hotel room

last year, a jury heard on Wednesday.

No one disputes that Renato Seabra, 22, killed Carlos Castro, 65, in January 2011. Seabra pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to a charge of second degree murder, and his trial reached closing arguments at Manhattan criminal court.

David Touger, one of Seabra's lawyers, even vigorously re-enacted Seabra's attack for the jury, waving over his head the smashed computer monitor and wine bottle with which Seabra bludgeoned Castro before wielding the corkscrew, its spike pointing towards jurors, used to sever Castro's testicles. "You do not need an expert to tell you this is psychotic behavior," Touger told the jury. More than 20 doctors have since diagnosed Seabra with bipolar disorder, he said.

It was impossible that "a 21-year-old kid from a small town in Portugal" could deceive more than a dozen New York City psychiatrists from hospitals and the prison system, or even be aware that insanity was a possible defense, Touger said.

Seabra was not responsible for the killing because he did not know what he was doing was wrong, believing instead he was on a God-ordained mission to slay the "demon" of homosexuality that he saw in Castro, the lawyer said.

"What better evidence do you need than him ripping out the testicles of someone, picking them up and wiping the blood on himself," Touger said. "A normal person who has control of his thoughts would not do any of that." Touger noted that Seabra spent time dragging the corpse to different parts of the room before showering, changing into a smart suit and purple tie, and gelling his hair before leaving the room at the Intercontinental Hotel near Times Square.

... contd.

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