OAKLAND (CBS SF) — The defense lawyer for murder defendant Giselle Esteban questioned her ex-boyfriend Tuesday about the ups and downs of their 10-year-long relationship, which includes the birth of a child nearly seven years ago.
In her questions of Scott Marasigan, defense attorney Andrea Auer seemed to be trying to support her contention in her opening statement Monday in Esteban’s trial that Esteban did not plan to kill nursing student Michelle Le in May 2011 but instead snapped as a result of “extreme provocation and heat of passion.”
Le, a 26-year-old San Mateo woman who was attending Samuel Merritt University in Oakland, disappeared from Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Hayward on May 27, 2011. A highly-publicized search ensued for nearly four months until her decomposed body was found in a remote area between Pleasanton and Sunol on Sept. 17, 2011.
Esteban, a 28-year-old Union City woman who attended high school with Le in San Diego and had been a close friend, was charged with Le’s murder on Sept. 8, 2011—before Le’s body was found—based on DNA evidence and cellphone records.
Prosecutor Butch Ford alleged in his opening statement that Esteban killed Le out of “jealousy, hatred and rage” because she blamed Le for wrecking her relationship with her daughter’s father, Scott Marasigan.
Marasigan, 28, said Tuesday that he met Esteban in the fall of 2002 when they both were freshmen at San Francisco State University and Esteban introduced him to Le, who was a student at San Jose State University.
He said he dated Le for about a month in the spring of 2003 but they broke up after about a month, although they remained friends and continued to see one another periodically.
Marasigan testified on Monday that he never had sex with Le, either during their month-long dating relationship or at any later time.
He said Tuesday that Esteban was “irate” at him when she learned that Le had confided to him at a party in 2005 that she was pregnant and was planning to have an abortion.
Esteban was also pregnant at the time and ultimately gave birth to the couple’s daughter on Oct. 31, 2005.
Marasigan said he and Esteban had “some discussions about whether I slept with Michelle” but he denied Esteban’s allegations that he’d had an affair with Le.
Under cross-examination by Auer, who had him review dozens of text messages he and Esteban exchanged, Marasigan admitted that although he and Esteban had what he characterized as a rocky relationship and broke up several years ago, they had many good times together and had sex as recently as February 2011.
Marasigan said Esteban originally had custody of their daughter and moved with the girl to San Diego in 2008 but she became “mad” at him in 2010 when he won custody of the girl and moved her back to the Bay Area to live with him here.
He said Esteban ultimately also moved back to the Bay Area in November 2010 to be near their daughter but conceded that she appeared to be lonely because she didn’t have many friends in the area.
Marasigan said that on Nov. 22, 2010, Esteban, who was referring to Le, accused him in a text message of “dishonesty about the same person who has hurt us for six years.”
Marasigan said he, Esteban and Le met with a counselor on Nov. 23, 2010, to try to resolve Esteban’s allegations that Le was interfering with her relationship with him but the meeting didn’t appear to satisfy Esteban because she texted him the next day asking him to contact Le because it was “really important” that they meet again.
Marasigan completed his testimony late Tuesday and Ford will present more prosecution witnesses when Esteban’s trial resumes Wednesday morning.
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