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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Robbery - Arson
Number of victims: 2
Date of murders: January 15, 1986
Date of birth: ???
Victims profile: Maria Victoria Holmes, 52, and her daughter, Luisa Anna Castro, 32
Method of murder: Blows to her head and face - Strangulation
Location: San Mateo County, California, USA
Status: Sentenced to death

On January 15, 1986, police officers and firefighters were summoned to a house fire in Daly City. Inside the house, the officers found the bodies of Maria Victoria Holmes, aged 52, and her daughter, Luisa Anna Castro, 32.

The evidence indicated that two fires (one upstairs, and one downstairs) had been intentionally set, probably through the use of some flammable liquid. Victim Holmes evidently had been severely beaten and kicked. Her body showed extensive contusions and abrasions; her face was swollen and bloody. An autopsy indicated she died from 12 or more blows to her head [6 Cal.4th 15] and face. Victim Castro's body was burned beyond recognition; a large knife was found nearby. An autopsy determined, however, that she had died from strangulation; a wire was found wrapped tightly around her neck.

Further investigation revealed the following facts: Victim Holmes was a hotel manager who wore expensive jewelry and possessed an extensive collection of gold jewelry from Central America. She shared her home with her daughter, victim Castro, a nightclub security guard, who was currently dating defendant, a customer of the club. Castro also had a collection of gold jewelry and frequently boasted of it. On the night of the murders, Castro had prepared dinner for defendant at her home after they had driven her children to a babysitter. Later that evening, someone murdered the two women, stole their jewelry, and set fire to their home in an apparent attempt to cover up the crimes.

Defendant was arrested after a girlfriend, Roshaun Fuller, told police that he had admitted assaulting the women and taking their jewelry. According to Fuller, defendant stated he "knocked out" Castro and, when victim Holmes came upstairs to investigate, he knocked her down and kicked her in the head. Defendant had been seen wearing, and later pawning, some gold jewelry, although it could not positively be traced to the victims.

Defendant also admitted to the investigating officers some facts regarding his relationship with Castro, including sharing dinner with her at her home on or about the night of the murders. According to defendant, he left the house after Castro had become intoxicated and fallen asleep. Although defendant denied killing the women, at one point he told the interrogating officer that, "I probably did do it, but you are not going to get me to say I did do it."



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