SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

February 21, 2014

Peabody man faces murder charge

Suspect has history of domestic violence

BY JULIE MANGANIS
STAFF WRITER

---- — PEABODY — A Peabody man with a history of domestic violence, including charges he threatened his girlfriend with a machete two years ago, has been charged with killing his girlfriend.

Franklin Castano, 43, showed up at the Lynn police station yesterday morning, and what he told police led them to his apartment at 50 Keys Drive, where his 23-year-old girlfriend was found dead, officials said.

He is scheduled to be arraigned this morning on a murder charge in Peabody District Court and was held without bail overnight at Middleton Jail, said Carrie Kimball Monahan, a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office.

Police and prosecutors were tight-lipped about the case and did not release the name of the victim yesterday. They also declined to say how she died.

However, the woman was the same person who, in 2012, was allegedly threatened by Castano with a machete and butcher knife and assaulted in Lynn.

In that case, Castano was jealous that another man had put his arm around her during her 21st birthday party the night before, according to an account in the Lynn Item. The woman said that during the argument, Castano went to a closet, retrieved a machete and told her he would kill her. He also grabbed a butcher knife and waved it at her. The woman had a rug burn on her face, a swollen lip, and scratches and marks on her neck, the Item reported.

The woman told police a restraining order would not help her because she believed Castano would kill her, the newspaper reported.

The woman was also a victim of Castano in a 2010 domestic violence case in Salem.

According to a police report, the victim and Castano got into an argument after she questioned him about a late-night phone call he received.

In that incident, Castano told her he had to go pick up a friend, then left to get into his car, according to a Salem police report. When she went out to follow him in her own car, he went back into the house.

The argument turned physical, and both accused each other of shoving. The woman said Castano slammed a door on her, possibly breaking her nose, according to the report.

The woman said Castano also tried to hit her with a picture frame that had fallen off the wall, but that she blocked it, leaving her with a cut on her hand.

Castano told police that he was simply leaving to avoid an argument, but she attacked him, and during the struggle, she fell, causing her injuries.

Castano’s son from a prior relationship was in the home at the time.

The Peabody apartment is in the Eaves Avalon complex, an older apartment development on Keys Drive, across from Northshore Mall. It used to be known as the Kross Keys Apartments.

The complex was guarded yesterday by a private security company that turned away visitors at the entrance. It has been the scene of countless police calls over the past several years, according to Peabody police logs and Salem News archives.

In November 2007, a resident there was charged with murder in the shaking death of her baby daughter. She was later convicted and is serving a 15- to 17-year prison term.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.