East Elmhurst man convicted of beating his girlfriend and her daughter to death with a hammer

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An East Elmhurst man was found guilty on Wednesday of murdering his girlfriend and her daughter — whom he believed to be witches — with a hammer more than three years ago.

Carlos Alberto Amarillo, 48, was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder, fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon and endangering the welfare of a child. Amarillo is to return to court on July 6 for sentencing; he’s likely to spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole, according to Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown.

Law enforcement sources said that at 12:10 a.m. on July 29, 2014, police responded to a 911 call at an address on 87th Street in East Elmhurst. Upon their arrival, cops found the body of Estrella Castaneda, 56, face up on the bed with a pillow over her face. Blood was soaked into the linens and splattered on the walls. The rubber grip of a hammer was beside her body on the bed.

Police also found the body of Castaneda’s daughter, Lina, 25, face down on the floor of a rear bedroom. She suffered injuries to her head and a hammer was found on the floor beside her. Lina’s 7-year-old daughter was found unharmed on the bed in Lina’s room.

Amarillo claimed that he killed the two victims because the two victims were witches and they had been casting voodoo spells on him. According to trial records, Amarillo called 911 stating, “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.”

When police arrived at the scene, they found Amarillo holding a Bible and walking from the doorway of the home’s entrance to the street. According to police, Amarillo stated that stated that the women were “witches and were performing voodoo and casting spells” on him that made him sick.

“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,” Brown said in a statement. “Thankfully, the little girl, just 7 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.”

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