Thursday, June 21 , 2018, 7:04 am | Overcast 61º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Sentencing Again Delayed For Santa Maria Man Convicted Of Killing His Mother

A Santa Maria man found guilty of killing his mother three years ago is seeking a new trial in Orange County Superior Court with his sentencing hearing now delayed until at least December.

Earlier this year, Gabriel Espinoza, 33, was convicted by an Orange County jury of murdering his mother, Emma Posadas-Espinoza, 58, in her Lompoc home three years ago.

Her body was dumped behind a carport in a residential area in the Orange County community of La Habra in July 2014.

The victim died of asphyxiation due to severe chest compression, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said. 

Law enforcement officers contend Espinoza moved his mother’s body to her car and drove south to La Habra on July 18, 2014.

Three days later, a passerby found the remains and alerted police. 

The woman’s missing car was found later parked on a Santa Maria street.

While Espinoza was found guilty of first-degree murder, the jury did not find as true that the son committed the crime for financial gain.

Following the March 3 verdict, sentencing has been delayed three times, including as recently as last Friday.

The case is set to return to court Dec. 8 when a motion for a new trial also is expected to be heard in a Santa Ana courtroom.

Orange County District Attorney’s Office representatives said Espinoza faced a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in state prison.

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.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level
×

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >