OAKLAND -- At the time Giselle Esteban allegedly murdered her high school friend Michelle Le in a Hayward parking garage, the 28-year-old was at an all-time emotional low, her lawyer revealed through questioning of a witness in court Tuesday.
Esteban, who had been battling her on-again, off-again boyfriend for custody of their then 5-year-old child, had recently lost custody, was having her visitation rights reduced and was beginning to realize that any future romantic relationship with the father of her child was probably not going to occur.
Andrea Auer, Esteban's defense attorney, revealed this emotional downfall through the questioning of Scott Marasigan, Esteban's former boyfriend and also close friend of Le.
Using hundreds of text messages Marasigan saved and handed over to police after Le went missing last year, Auer revealed that he and Esteban had a turbulent relationship which at times included sex but at other times included Esteban's hatred and anger toward Le and the man she believed was having an affair with Le.
The questioning and text messages also reveled that Esteban's paranoia about a possible affair between the father of her child and her former high school best friend was reaching epic proportions in May 2011, at about the time she is accused of tracking Le down at the Kaiser Permanente in Hayward and killing her.
Auer has not disputed that her client killed Le and then dumped her body in a secluded area near the Sunol-Pleasanton border but has argued that evidence will show the killing was conducted in the "heat of passion" and should not be considered a first- or second-degree murder.
In doing so, Auer walked Marasigan through his more than eight-year-long relationship with Esteban, mostly using text messages the two sent each other over the years including a series of intimate conversations in which they gave graphic details about sex dalliances they had together.
While the couple appeared to have good times and bad times and frequent occurrences in which they would sleep together, the relationship began to turn rotten in early 2011 after Esteban lost custody of her child and Marasigan began limiting her visitation rights.
Marasigan said the visitation rights where limited in part because Esteban began sending him threatening text messages accusing him of having an affair with Le and in which she said she was praying for his and Le's death.
Part of Esteban's erroneous belief about an affair centered on a secret Le told Marasigan during a party in 2005. At that party, Le told Marasigan she was pregnant and was planning to have an abortion. Marasigan said Le asked him not to tell Esteban because at the time Esteban was against abortions and Le was worried Esteban would judge her for having one.
However, Esteban eventually found out about the secret, which led her to believe that Marasigan got Le pregnant.
While that caused friction in Esteban and Marasigan's relationship, it appeared that the situation was rectified as Marasigan made a concerted effort not to speak with Le and instead focused on the birth of his girl.
However, Marasigan said, the paranoia that Esteban had about him having possibly slept with Le was always present in the couple's relationship and began to surface again years later when they decided to end their relationship and custody of their child entered the court system.
Marasigan also said that he had resumed his friendship with Le.
It reached epic proportions, he said, in February 2011 when Esteban began sending daily texts to Marasigan threatening his and Le's life and accusing him of choosing her over his daughter.
Marasigan testified that while he dated Le for about month in 2003, he never had sex with her while they were dating or afterward.