Judge sets trial date in murder of Michelle Le

December 20, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
A judge today set a Sept. 17 trial date for Giselle Esteban on a charge that she murdered nursing student Michelle Le.

In a twist of fate, Sept. 17 is the one-year anniversary of the day that Le's remains were found in a remote area between Pleasanton and Sunol.

Le, a 26-year-old San Mateo woman who was attending Samuel Merritt University in Oakland, had disappeared from Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Hayward on May 27.

Esteban, a 28-year-old Union City woman who attended high school with Le in San Diego, was charged with Le's murder on Sept. 8 -- before Le's body was found -- based on DNA evidence and cellphone records.

An Alameda County criminal grand jury indicted Esteban on an identical murder charge on Dec. 14 at the end of a three-day hearing. Prosecutors sought the indictment to try to speed up her trial.

The indictment allows prosecutors to bypass the step of having a preliminary hearing at which a judge determines if there is enough evidence against a defendant for a case to proceed to trial.

Esteban, who is being held at the county jail without bail, is scheduled to return to the courtroom of Alameda County Superior Court Judge Carrie Panetta on March 5 for a hearing on several pretrial motions.

According to the transcript of the grand jury's hearing, prosecutors believe that Esteban stalked and murdered Le because she blamed Le for wrecking her relationship with Scott Marasigan, who is the father of Esteban's daughter.

Esteban gave birth to a second child in November while she was in custody but the father of that child hasn't been disclosed.


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