|Renato Seabra appears in court |
Renato Seabra, 21, remained silent at his arraignment in Manhattan State Supreme Court. His lawyer entered a not-guilty plea on his behalf.
Court papers presented by prosecutors detailed the statement that police said Seabra gave to investigators after the Jan. 7 death of well-known Portuguese journalist Carlos Castro while the two were vacationing in Manhattan.
The account depicted an argument in a hotel room that turned vicious and escalated into a prolonged frenzy - with Seabra first choking his companion, then stabbing him with a corkscrew in his face and groin. Seabra also admitted to hitting the 65-year-old Castro on the head with a computer monitor and stomping on his face while wearing shoes, the papers said.
After the attack, Seabra told police, he showered, put on a suit and left. When he ran into a friend of Castro’s as well as her daughter, he at first refused to answer questions about Castro’s whereabouts but then said he was in the hotel room and gave them the room number: 3416. He then left the InterContinental New York Times Square hotel, wandered around the city and eventually got into a taxi that took him to St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center, the papers said.
The city medical examiner has ruled Castro died of head injuries and strangulation.
Defense lawyer David Touger said after the hearing that he and his client planned a "vigorous defense" and hoped for a positive outcome, though he would not elaborate. Seabra will remain in custody at Bellevue Hospital until the parties return to court March 4 for motions.
Friends in New York have said Castro and Seabra were a couple. But Seabra’s mother told Portugal’s TVIndependente television network that her son isn’t gay and "was not Carlos Castro’s lover."
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.