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NYPD: Queens man killed pair he believed were witches

The NYPD at a crime scene on Jan.

The NYPD at a crime scene on Jan. 29, 2014. Credit: Theodore Parisienne

A Queens man who authorities said called 911 to say he beat his girlfriend and her daughter to death with a hammer because they were "witches" was arrested Wednesday and charged with their slayings.

Carlos Alberto Amarillo, 44, was awaiting arraignment late Wednesday on charges of first- and second-degree murder in the killings of Estrella Castaneda, 56, and her daughter Lina Castaneda, 25, in an apartment on 87th Street in East Elmhurst.

In the 911 call early Wednesday, Amarillo told an NYPD operator he "killed them because they are witches. I want the police to kill me. I killed them with a hammer," according a statement by Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

A 7-year-old daughter of Lina Castaneda was found unharmed, Brown added.

The killings are the second domestic-related multiple homicides in Queens in just over a week.

Miguel Mejia-Ramos, 29, was arrested Jan. 20 by authorities in Texas after the NYPD said he stabbed his girlfriend and their two toddler daughters to death in their South Jamaica apartment. Brown said that Mejia-Ramos, who faces first-degree murder charges, snapped when, after a night out drinking, he returned home and saw a Facebook photo of his girlfriend with another man.

In the latest killings, police arrived to find Amarillo walking from the doorway of the building to the street, carrying a Bible and stating "I killed them, I killed them," Brown said.

Inside the apartment officers found Estrella Castaneda face up on the bed with a pillow over her face and blood on the bed and on the wall behind her, according to Brown. The rubber grip of a hammer was on the bed, he said.

Lina Castaneda was face down on the floor of a second bedroom with injuries to her head and a hammer next to her, partially covered by some clothing, Brown said.

In statements to police, Amarillo said the women performed voodoo and cast spells on him, officials said.

Amarillo is originally from Argentina, said a law enforcement official who asked not to be identified.

Yesterday's killings come as the number of homicides in the city have been ahead of last year's pace. Through Sunday there have been 28 homicides this year, up from 21 in 2013, NYPD records show.

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