SANTA BARBARA MAN SENTENCED TO 25 YEARS TO LIFE IN PRISON FOR KILLING HIS MOTHER IN HER HOME AND DISPOSING OF VICTIM'S BODY IN LA HABRA
SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man was sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison today for killing his mother in her home and disposing of the victim's body in La Habra.
|Gabriel Antonio Espinoza, 33, Santa Maria||Found guilty by a jury on March 3, 2017, of:
||25 years to life in state prison|
Circumstances of the Case:
- In the early morning hours of July 17, 2014, Espinoza killed his mother, 58-year-old Emma Espinoza-Posadas, in her Lompoc home.
- The victim died of asphyxiation due to severe chest compression. Espinoza moved his mother's body to her car and drove south to La Habra.
- On July 18, 2014, Espinoza disposed of Espinoza-Posadas' body behind a carport in a residential area of La Habra.
- Three days later on July 21, 2014, a passerby discovered the victim and called 911.
- The La Habra Police Department (LHPD) responded to the scene.
- During the course of their investigation, LHPD identified Espinoza as a suspect and arrested the defendant in Santa Maria on Dec. 23, 2014.
At the sentencing, the victim's sister was present in court and delivered a victim impact statement pursuant to Marsy's Law. She shared how her sister Emma came from humble beginnings as a daughter of Spanish-speaking farm workers; she learned and eventually mastered English, graduating with honors all the way through to a master's degree. The victim's sister stated in part, “I can't imagine the fear and excruciating pain she endured in the final moments of her life… She should be alive today still.”
Prosecutor: Senior Deputy District Attorney Troy Pino, Homicide Unit.
Orange County District Attorney / Case # 14NF5173 / December 22, 2017