Norma Esparza, a 39-year-old psychology professor currently living in France, could go to jail for life after her ex-boyfriend murdered her rapist 18 years ago.
In 1995, Esparza was a college sophomore at Pomona College in California when she and some friends went to a bar one evening and identified Gonzalo Ramirez as the man she claimed raped her in her dorm room. She says that her then boyfriend Gianni Anthony Van forced her to identify Ramirez, and just hours later, police found Ramirez dead, brutally beaten and cut up with a meat cleaver.
Now, prosecutors say that she conspired with Van and others to commit the retaliation killing, but Esparza claims that she had nothing to do with the murder.
“I collaborated with them this entire year and they’re still pressing charges, knowing very well that I didn’t have anything to do with it,” said Esparza in a recent statement. “Whatever the charges are that they’re asking me to plead guilty for, it’s essentially something that I cannot accept because it would essentially be a lie…. Now that they have all the information to move with their case and build their case, now they’ve decided to put pressure and ask me to accept a guilty plea.”
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“The principle of what they're asking me is to plead guilty to something that they know I am not responsible for," asserted Esparza, who is married and has four-year-old daughter.
Esparza’s husband Jorge Mancillas stands by his wife, saying that she is not guilty of what the prosecution is accusing her of.
“This is an incredible injustice," said Mancillas. "I guess in Orange County it doesn't count to be innocent."
When the rape initially happened, Esparza did not report it to police because she felt guilty, although she did visit a school nurse the next day.
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If convicted, Esparza could face life in prison.