A male model confessed Sunday to killing a gay journalist in a Times Square hotel - and gave cops a twisted explanation of why he sexually mutilated his victim, sources said. Renato Seabra, 20, told cops he used a corkscrew to sever 65-year-old Carlos Castro's genitals as a way to cure the older man of his homosexuality, the police sources said. Seabra was charged with second-degree murder, police said Monday. Seabra and Castro came to New York from their native Portugal and by all accounts were a couple - but Seabra appears unable to admit that, police sources said. "He said he did it to get rid of [Castro's] homosexual demons," one of the police sources said. Police believe the two men had dated for several months, even though Seabra's family insisted the tanned hunk is straight. "My son was not Carlos Castro's lover," Seabra's mother, Odília Pereirinha, told a Portuguese TV station. "From the beginning, he never hid his sexuality, which is heterosexual." Castro was a high-profile gay activist and society columnist in his home country. Seabra's claim to fame was as a pretty boy contestant on a top model reality show. The duo were staying at the InterContinental Hotel since Dec. 29 and hit the town together often, dining and drinking at fancy restaurants, friends said. Whatever the nature of their relationship, this much is certain, cops say: Seabra brutalized his victim and left him to die in a pool of blood. Detectives briefly questioned Seabra on Sunday at the Bellevue Hospital psychiatric ward, where he is in police custody, the sources said. Castro was found dead in his room at the hotel Friday. An autopsy showed Castro died of strangulation and blunt-force trauma to the head. Seabra fled the hotel, but was nabbed at Roosevelt Hospital when he sought treatment for cuts to his face and wrists. Investigators believe he may have tried to kill himself. Castro paid for the couple's trip to New York to celebrate the new year, but detectives believe Seabra killed his gray-haired lover when he refused to take him on an expensive shopping trip. Seabra's mother said her son - whom she described as shy and religious - wasn't capable of such horror. "My son, being a golden boy, who is so good, he didn't do this," she said.
- Rocco Parascandola, Alison Gendar, Erica Pearson and John Lauinger NY Daily News