Details Surface About Buffalo Stabbing Suspect's Criminal Past

January 18, 2011 Updated Jan 19, 2011 at 5:16 PM EDT

By Jennifer Stanonis

...
January 18, 2011 Updated Jan 19, 2011 at 5:16 PM EDT

Summary: BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) -- 45 year old Maria Pagan was killed after being repeatedly stabbed with a samurai sword at her home on Normal Avenue on Buffalo's upper west side Monday. Her daughter, 15 year old Zayra Pagan, was also stabbed and is being treated at Women and Children's Hospital. The suspect, reportedly the mother's boyfriend, is 63 year old Juan Castro. He was confronted by police at the scene. Police say he swung the sword at them so they fired. He's in critical condition at ECMC.

The Police Department Internal Affairs section is investigating the use of police weapons in this case.

Some who knew the couple say the victim and suspect were in a troubled relationship and worried about the suspect's past. Eyewitness News has confirmed from court documents that Castro was arrested in 2001 and charged with domestic violence, causing serious injury with a weapon. He plead guilty and served jail time.

Zayra Pagan is a 10th grade honor student at Hutch Tech High School where students had grief counselors on hand Tuesday to help them through this tough time. "I just spent my 7th and 8th periods talking to them and they were helpful," one of Zayra's good friends and fellow classmates said.

"I didn't think anything would happen to her because she was a good person," another friend said.

One of Zayra's best friends, who has many classes with her, brought a "get well" sign to school for students to write messages on to bring to Zayra in the hospital. "She's the root of all my happiness and without her it's just... right now I am so depressed," Laura said. "I'll definitely go see her because she's my best friend and I can't let her suffer, I don't want her to be there in pain all alone."

Laura says she has been working with friends on independent films through her small business iPanic Productions, and says Zayra's name will now appear in the dedications on the next small film.

Maria and Zayra Pagan are originally from Puerto Rico and most of their family still reside there. Friends of the family say Zayra is now an orphan since her dad died when she was a little girl.