Fil-Am found guilty of murdering nursing student

By Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Oct 31 2012 01:39 PM | Updated as of Nov 01 2012 05:04 PM

HAYWARD, California - More than a year after she was arrested, Filipino American Giselle Esteban was found guilty for the murder of 26-year old Vietnamese nursing student, Michelle Le.

A jury found the 28-year-old Esteban guilty of first-degree murder. Esteban could spend the rest of her life behind bars.

In a statement sent to Balitang America, District Attorney Nancy O’ Malley said, “I am pleased the perpetrator of this heinous, calculated crime has been brought to justice.”

Deputy District Attorney Butch Ford called Esteban a sociopath whose only goal was to kill Le, her former high school friend. The prosecution said Esteban was jealous of Le’s friendship with Filipino Scott Marasigan, Esteban’s ex-boyfriend and the father of her young child.

During the trial, the prosecution presented the jury with DNA evidence, videotapes and cell phone records, validating the theory that Esteban planned her attack on Le at a parking lot in Kaiser Permanente in Hayward on May 27, 2011.

Le was initially considered a missing person until her body was found in a remote canyon months later.

But the defense for Esteban said all she wanted was to have a conversation with Le when she tracked her down at that parking lot. But that conversation turned horribly wrong.

The defense argued that Esteban did not plan to kill Le but instead snapped because of extreme provocation and heat of passion.

Leonor Clemente, a Filipina who has been following the case, expressed sympathy for Esteban.

"Naawa rin ako sa kanya siguro biglaan ang init ng ulo niya kaya nangyari yun.

Esteban is scheduled for sentencing on December 10. She faces at least 25 years to life in prison.