No bail allowed in slaying of Portuguese journalist

Portuguese male model Renato Seabra is seen in a courtroom sketch made during a remote arraignment from Bellevue Hospital, where he is being held for the murder of Portuguese journalist Carlos Castro, in New York January 14, 2011. REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg/Handout

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - A Portuguese male model accused of beating to death and castrating a prominent Portuguese journalist was held without bail on a charge of second-degree murder on Friday in a case that has rocked Portugal.

The victim, Carlos Castro, 65, was found lying in a pool of blood a week ago in his room at the Intercontinental Hotel a few blocks from Times Square. The medical examiner’s office said the cause of death was trauma to the head and strangulation.

Prosecutors charged Renato Seabra, 21, with one count of murder in the second degree.

Seabra admitted to stabbing Castro with a corkscrew and cutting off his testicles, according to a criminal complaint unsealed on Friday just before the first court hearing in the case.

Castro’s face had shoe impressions and bruising, the complaint said.

Seabra was being held in Bellevue Hospital Center -- local media said he had slashed his wrists -- and was shown Friday’s hearing through video conference. He wore a green hospital smock while a Portuguese interpreter translated the proceedings.

No bail was set and Judge Anthony Ferrara ordered him detained pending his next court appearance set for February 1.

“It is a very serious and violent crime,” Assistant District Attorney Maxine Rosenthal told the court.

Castro was born in Angola during Portugal’s colonial rule in the African nation. He contributed to a wide range of media, including Diario de Noticias, 24 Horas and Correio de Manha, according to his website.

Reporting by Basil Katz; Editing by Daniel Trotta and Greg McCune