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Orange County Trial Delayed 2 Weeks For Santa Maria Man Charged With Killing Mother

Gabriel Antonio Espinoza
Gabriel Antonio Espinoza

The planned Orange County trial for a Santa Maria man charged with killing his mother for financial gain has been delayed until the end of January.

Attorneys for Gabriel Antonio Espinoza, 32, and the prosecution team met in Orange County Superior Court on Friday for a pre-trial hearing. 

Espinoza was arrested months after his mother, Emma Posadas-Espinoza, was found dead in La Habra in July 2014. 

The body of the 58-year-old woman who lived in Lompoc was discovered July 21, 2014, in the 900 block of South Idaho Street in the city of La Habra, according to the La Habra Police Department.

A man told police he found the body in foliage behind a carport when his dog alerted on something. Only the feet and a limited portion of the body appeared to be uncovered, according to police.

Police initially said the woman’s white, four-door Acura sedan was missing.

However, it was found July 30, 2014 in the 600 block of North Curryer Street in Santa Maria after someone reported that the vehicle appeared to be abandoned, police confirmed weeks after the discovery.

Espinoza was charged with murder and faces a special circumstance that the crime was committed for financial gain. 

In Friday's court appearance, another pre-trial hearing was planned for Jan. 27, and the jury trial now is scheduled to start Jan. 30, according to a representative for the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

In October, officials set Jan. 17 for the start of the trial, which once had been planned for late October.

Court cases can be delayed due to scheduling conflicts and other issues. 

Espinoza was arrested in December 2014, months after his mother’s body was found.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Troy Pino is leading the prosecution team while Fred Fascenelli is representing the defendant.

If found guilty, Espinoza faces a sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole.

He remains in custody of Orange County Jail with no bail. 

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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