PEABODY — In a voice apparently audible only to an interpreter, a Peabody man charged with shooting his girlfriend to death because she had asked him to move out of their apartment in February pleaded not guilty to a first-degree murder charge yesterday in Salem Superior Court.
Franklin Castano, 43, is charged with killing Solanlly Paulino, 23, with an unlicensed handgun, which police say he tossed from the window of the victim’s car as he fled the scene.
He went to Lynn police the following morning, saying that he had killed his “wife.” Police found her body on a sofa.
The killing was the culmination of years of domestic abuse in the relationship, court records show.
Paulino, a nanny who was studying social work at Salem State University, also aspired to work as a model. Castano, a man more than twice her age when they began dating in her late teens, worked as an auto detailer and stereo installer.
As a clerk asked him how he would plead to the charge of first-degree murder during his arraignment, Castano looked down, toward a Spanish language interpreter. What he said in Spanish was inaudible, but the interpreter’s words, “not guilty,” were.
A plea of “not guilty” to the firearms charge was entered on his behalf.
Paulino’s family members watched, looking directly at Castano, who avoided their gazes. One woman wiped away tears.
Prosecutor Kristen Buxton and defense attorney Michael Phelan had agreed prior to the arraignment that Castano will remain held without bail. Judge John Lu agreed to the request but also granted Phelan’s request that he be allowed to argue for bail in the future.
A pretrial hearing is scheduled for May 6.
Castano was indicted last month in the slaying, a development that was expected in the case since murder is beyond the jurisdiction of the district court where he was first arraigned in February.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at email@example.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.