October 17, 2019

Webster University professor pretrial hearing postponed to May

The pretrial hearing for Webster University Geneva professor Norma Patricia Esparza, who is charged with murder with special circumstances, has been postponed to May 3. The original date set for the hearing was Feb. 22.

According to the Orange County District Attorney’s office, Esparza was not present at the Feb. 22 pretrial hearing but was represented by her public defender, Isabel Apkarian. Apkarian was contacted in regard to the purpose of the postponement, but did not reply in time of publication.

At the Feb. 22 pretrial hearing, Esparza’s bail was continued, which allowed her to stay in Geneva where she lives and works for Webster.

Esparza is charged with murder with special circumstances in the 17-year-old investigation of the death of Gonzalo Ramirez in Santa Ana, Calif. Three others are also charged in association with Ramierz’s murder.

According to Esparza’s legal adviser Peter Schey, Esparza said Ramirez sexually assaulted her while she was attending Pomona College in Claremont, Calif. The Orange County District Attorney’s office alleged in a press release that Esparza pointed out Ramirez to the late Kody Tran and two of the four charged with Ramirez’s murder. Those charged include Esparza’s then-boyfriend, now ex-husband Gianni Anthony Van.

If convicted, Esparza faces a minimum of life in prison without parole, with a possibility of the death penalty.

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