OAKLAND -- Giselle Esteban wasn't acting as a reasonable person swayed by a heat of passion when she killed her former best friend Michelle Le, she was acting like ¿a sociopath, a prosecutor said Thursday.
Bringing an end to this salacious murder trial, Deputy district attorney Butch Ford told the jury in closing arguments it should not be manipulated, as many others have, by Esteban's endless stream of lies.
Pointing to evidence showing that Esteban, 28, spent at least a month before the killing aggressively searching for Le's home address and making death threats while laughing during conversations with her ex-boyfriend, Ford said her defense of acting in a heat of passion doesn't match her actions.
"Sociopath, that's what we have here; she's laughing as she is talking about killing people," Ford said as he replayed a recording of a conversation Esteban had with her ex-boyfriend. "This isn't heat of passion. This is a planned assault, a strategic assault on someone who never saw it coming."
Esteban is accused of killing Le, 26, on May 27, 2011, in the parking garage of the Kaiser hospital in Hayward as Le walked to her car to get some cold medicine. Esteban killed Le, evidence in the case revealed, after having a six-year-long obsession because she believed that Le was having an affair with Esteban's ex-boyfriend and father of her daughter, Scott Marasigan, 28.
Numerous text messages Esteban sent to Marasigan and an analysis of her computer by an FBI computer expert found that Esteban began making death threats against Le as early as November 2010 and began using the Internet in April 2011 to search for Le's home address and for ways to kill people without being caught.
In addition, testimony revealed that Esteban took spy-like actions in hopes of tracking down Le as she broke into a college campus administrative office using a stolen identification badge and made numerous phone calls posing as various people to gather information about where Le was working.
Le's remains were eventually found four months later in a secluded area near the Sunol-Plesanton border. All that was left was bones; a cause of death could not be determined.
While Esteban's attorney, Andrea Auer, did not contest any of the evidence presented in the case and admitted her client killed Le, Auer argued that her client should be found guilty of voluntary manslaughter, not murder.
Auer said Esteban's life was unraveling as she lost custody of her daughter, and she believed that Le was having an affair with Marasigan.
Esteban's suspicions about Marasigan and Le began six years earlier when she found out that Le told Marasigan that she was pregnant and was going to have an abortion. Auer suggested that secret led Esteban to believe that Marasigan impregnated Le, although evidence of this belief was never presented at trial.
Marasigan testified that he never had sex with Le, even though they dated for a few months before he dated Esteban.
Auer said the location and time of the killing prove that it wasn't planned and the fact that Esteban took Le's cell phone after the killing is a sign that she was not a coldhearted killer but just someone who was upset and trying to find out if her suspicions where true.
"If Giselle really wanted to kill Michelle, she could have just followed her home," Auer argued, saying killing Le in a well traveled parking garage while the sun was still shining is not the sign of a planned killing. "Giselle is like a volcano; she doesn't have a lot to hold on to."
The jury will begin deliberations Monday.