By Shayna Jacobs
MANHATTAN SUPREME COURT — A Portuguese model accused of murdering and sexually mutilating gay activist Carlos Castro in a Times Square hotel room pleaded not guilty at his first court appearance on Tuesday.
Handcuffed and wearing a bright Department of Corrections jacket with sweatpants, Renato Seabra, 21, quietly entered the plea through a court-assigned Portuguese translator.
Prosecutors announced his indictment on a single second-degree murder charge.
Castro's mutilated, naked body was found in the Intercontinental Hotel by a friend who feared for his safety after receiving a troubling call from Castro on Jan. 7.
Seabra and Castro had been dating since October, although Seabra's family vehemently denied that he was gay. Seabra reportedly told police he castrated Castro, 65, to "rid him of his homosexuality."
Seabra admitted to beating Castro so hard, he left shoe impressions on the older man's face, according to his statement to police. He allegedly tortured his lover for at least an hour using a cork screw to sever his testicles from his body.
Castro and Seabra was vacationing in New York together and had checked in to the InterContinental hotel on West 44th Street when the older man reportedly began to fear his young companion.
There did not appear to be any family members or friends of Castro's at the proceeding.
After the proceeding, Seabra's lawyer, David Touger, told reporters he planned "a vigorous defense."
"I'm very optimistic there will be a successful result for Mr. Seabra," he said, without elaborating.