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.
But without the cooperation or testimony of Paulino, Lynn District Court Judge Albert Conlon concluded that while Castano may have posed a danger, he could be released on $500 cash bail with an order that he not abuse Paulino. Monahan said the district attorney's office requested $5,000 bail after realizing that the judge intended to set bail.
According to her online profile and other sources, Paulino was studying social work and early childhood education, and working as a nanny for a family. She was also looking for work as a model, posting a profile on a website that promised to help her find jobs.
According to court documents, Paulino owned a 2013 Volkswagen Passat, a car that Castano used on Thursday morning to drive himself to the Lynn police department to turn himself in.
Along the way, he later told police, he tossed the gun out of the window near the South Congregational Church on Prospect Street, just outside the entrance to the apartment complex.
It is not clear whether he intended to turn himself in initially. When police entered the apartment, they found numerous air fresheners, scented candles that were left burning, and incense.
Paulino was found with a towel placed over her head.
Police also found another bullet hole in the wall.