A former psychology professor, 41 year old Norma Patricia Esparza, was sentenced to six years in prison on Friday for the 1995 murder of the man she says raped her when she was a college student in California.
Esparza pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter two years ago in a deal with prosecutors.
In 1995, Esparza reportedly pointed out Gonzalo Ramirez at a bar to her former boyfriend Gianni Van and two others followed and rear-ended Ramirez in his vehicle, then attacked, kidnapped and killed him, dumping his body on the side of a road in Irvine, authorities said.
Ramirez’s body was found by the road in Orange County.
Esparza moved to France, received a doctorate in psychology and worked as a consultant for the World Health Organization and as a professor in Switzerland.
After she told Gianni Van that Ramirez had raped her. Co-defendant Diane Tran also was sentenced Friday to four years in prison but freed based on time already served. Another co-defendant, Shannon Gries, got a term of 25 years to life, and told the court he would spend the time trying to make amends to Ramirez’s family.
The case went unsolved for years, but Esparza was finally arrested in 2012 on a trip to the U.S.
Esparza claimed that her boyfriend Van was behind the murder, and that she was never a willing participant.
She told the “Today” show in 2013 that she was “dragged, pressured, bullied, intimidated” by Van on the night of the murder.
“It just hurts me so much that I had been raped, and here he (Van) is, instead of consoling me, he destroyed the rest of my life,” she told the ” she said. “You know, the abuse was difficult, the rape was difficult, but dragging me through that night, it haunts me.”
She said her boyfriend blamed her for not preventing the rape. He then forced her to marry him in an attempt to keep her quiet,so she wouldn’t testify against him if they got caught.
Esparza’s husband Jorge Mancillas told reporters in 2013 his wife had confided to Van about the rape and Van took matters into his own hands.
Co-defendant Diane Tran also was sentenced Friday to four years in prison but freed based on time already served. Another co-defendant, Shannon Gries, got a term of 25 years to life, and told the court he would spend the time trying to make amends to Ramirez’s family.
Van was sentenced to life without parole for Ramirez’s murder last year.