Gabriel Espinoza of Santa Maria gave tearful television interviews days after his mother was found dead in La Habra on July 21, saying he "forgave" whoever strangled the 58-year-old Lompoc woman.
But Espinoza was essentially forgiving himself, if La Habra homicide detectives are to be believed.
They arrested the 29-year-old Tuesday on suspicion of murder and booked him into Orange County Jail without bail. Espinoza was charged and is scheduled to be arraigned today in Santa Ana for a special circumstances allegation of murder for financial gain, meaning the Orange County District Attorney could seek the death penalty.
A dog being walked on leash discovered the body of Emma Posadas Espinoza, clad only in her underwear, under some leaves and plants behind a carport in the 900 block of South Idaho Street around 4:30 a.m. on July 21, according to the La Habra Police Department.
Posadas-Espinoza had no initial signs of trauma and police believed she had died days before her discovery, says La Habra Police Sgt. Dave Crivelli. An autopsy later revealed the licensed clinical social worker died of asphyxiation.
A five-month investigation that included search warrants and court orders finally led police to identify her son as a suspect and ultimately arrest Gabriel Espinoza.
After the brief commercial, watch the interview he gave to the central coast's KEYT/KCOY/KKFX after his mother's body was found:
If cops and prosecutors have the right man, I think we have our next best actor Oscar winner.