Papers detail NYC death of Portuguese journalist

January 14, 2011 12:01:33 PM PST
A man admitted castrating a Portuguese celebrity TV journalist and killing him in a New York hotel by slamming his head into a television, stabbing him with a corkscrew, and choking and stomping on him, a court document said Friday.

Renato Seabra, 21, a model from Cantanhede, Portugal, did not enter a plea and said nothing as he was arraigned Friday on a murder charge by video link from a hospital. Seabra's lawyer didn't immediately return a phone call after the hearing.

He is accused of the Jan. 7 killing of Carlos Castro, 65, whose body was found bloodied, naked and castrated on the floor of a room the two had shared in the InterContinental New York Times Square hotel, police said.

Medical examiners determined Castro died from a combination of blunt impact head injuries and strangulation.

Police detained Seabra after he sought care at a hospital near the hotel. Authorities later transferred him to Bellevue Hospital, where he underwent a psychiatric evaluation.

Friends in New York said Castro and Seabra were a couple. But Seabra's mother told Portugal's TVIndependente television network that her son "was not Carlos Castro's lover."

Seabra "never hid his sexuality: that he is heterosexual," Odilia Pereirinha said Sunday.

Castro and Seabra had arrived in the U.S. in late December to see some Broadway shows and spend New Year's Eve in Times Square, according to a family friend.

There had been a bit of jealousy-related tension between the two men toward the end of the trip, but nothing to suggest anything horrible was about to happen, said the friend, Luis Pires, the editor of the Portuguese language newspaper Luso-Americano.

Seabra was a contestant last year on a Portuguese TV show called "A Procura Do Sonho," or "Pursuit of a Dream," which hunts for modeling talent.

He didn't win the show but did get a modeling contract with an agency founded by fashion designer Fatima Lopes, who developed the show and was a judge on it.