On Wednesday, Solanlly Paulino asked the management office at the Eaves Avalon apartment complex how she could get her boyfriend, Franklin Castano, off of the lease and out of the apartment.
Two days later, her body was found, face down, on a loveseat in the apartment at 50 Keys Drive that they had shared since last September. She was killed by a 9-mm bullet fired into her temple, police say in court documents.
Castano is charged with firing that bullet, ending an apparently stormy relationship that dates to at least 2010, when Paulino was just a couple of years out of high school and Castano, 43, was twice her age and the father of three children, one of them the same age as his girlfriend.
A not guilty plea was entered on Castano's behalf in Peabody District Court this afternoon. Castano will be held without bail. His next scheduled court appearance is March 25.
Paulino, who was once an honors student at Swampscott High School and who served in the Army for a time before attending Salem State University, seemed to have everything going for her –– brains and, for the aspiring model, beauty.
But time and time again, she returned to Castano, despite at least two instances of domestic violence.
That's not an uncommon scenario, say domestic violence experts.
In December 2010, both Castano and Paulino were charged after a fight over late-night text messages Castano was receiving at the time; a suspicious Paulino tried to follow him, triggering a physical confrontation.
But the case was dismissed after both invoked their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
Then, in 2012, Castano was again charged, this time with threatening Paulino with a machete and a butcher knife, according to court documents.
In that case, prosecutors sought to have Castano –– who also had a history of domestic violence reports with his ex-wife –– held without bail, said Carrie Kimball Monahan, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office.