Pinay sentenced to life for murder

By Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Dec 12 2012 09:42 AM | Updated as of Dec 12 2012 05:42 PM

OAKLAND, California - Nineteen months after the death of 26-year-old Vietnamese-American nursing student Michelle Le, part of the ordeal of her family and loved-ones is over. The Filipina convicted of murdering her has been sentenced.

Twenty-seven year old Giselle Esteban was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison at the Oakland Superior Court. Judge Jon Rolefson also denied probation for Esteban and ordered her to pay restitution fines of over $20,000.

Le and Esteban were former friends in high school. Esteban reportedly killed her because she was jealous over Le’s relationship with Scott Marasigan, a Filipino they both dated.

During the sentencing, some of Le’s family members spoke of the devastation they felt after her death. Esteban chose not to speak up. But her lawyer, Andrea Auer said in court that Esteban seemed to come to terms with a life is prison, telling her to, “Let it go.”

The judge said he has never seen a hint of remorse from Esteban and hopes someday she will feel this.

Krystine Dinh, cousin of Le said, “Seeing her during the trial, we felt that she felt no remorse. She would just look at us with blanks stares. It was good that the judge pointed that out.”

During the sentencing, the judge also said that even if the evidence against Esteban was circumstantial, he has never seen a murder case that had stronger evidence of premeditation and deliberation.

Le’s brother Michael said, “The sentence was the most that the court could do. We’re just glad that some form of justice has been served.”

Dinh stressed, “Michelle was a beautiful person. Her murderer may have taken away her life, but not her light… not her legacy.”

Esteban leaves behind two young children. Some of her family members who were present at the sentencing refused to make a comment to Balitang America.