SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

May 23, 2014

Peabody slaying suspect: Shooting was an accident

Gun marks found on victim's head, investigators say; judge denies bail

PEABODY — The man charged with shooting his girlfriend in the head inside their Peabody apartment in February has claimed that it was an accident, and yesterday, he asked to be released on bail.

But Franklin Castano, 44, isn’t going anywhere, Salem Superior Court Judge John Lu ordered yesterday, denying the defense request for bail in the first-degree murder case.

Castano is charged with killing Solanlly Paulino, 23, an aspiring model who was also studying to become a social worker, on Feb. 19 or 20, then leaving her body, face down on a sofa, in the back den of their apartment in the Eaves at Avalon complex across from Northshore Mall.

As some of Paulino’s family members wept, prosecutor Kristen Buxton detailed the crime scene for Lu, including the discovery of Paulino’s body.

Buxton told the judge that, contrary to Castano’s claims that the shooting was accidental, investigators noted what appeared to be marks from a gun being fired in close contact with her head.

The bullet traveled through Paulino’s head, through a sofa and into the floor, the prosecutor said.

Just that day, Paulino had asked the management office at the apartment complex to take Castano off of the lease.

Buxton said that Paulino had been working on ending the relationship — which started when she was a teenager — for weeks, at one point trying to obtain public assistance in order to be able to afford the apartment on her own.

She also raised concerns about Castano’s ties to the Dominican Republic, where he is from originally.

Michael Phelan, who represents Castano, told the judge that Castano is a United States citizen, after being naturalized in 2004, and would not flee.

He also offered to have Castano placed on a GPS bracelet.

Lu denied the request and ordered that Castano remain in custody until trial.

Murder is the only charge in which a defendant is not presumed to be entitled to bail, and it’s rare for someone facing a murder charge to be released from custody prior to trial.

A pretrial hearing is scheduled for June 12.

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

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