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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

UF student held without bond after stabbing mother 70 times

Emmanuel Espinoza was charged with first-degree murder, destroying or tampering evidence

UF pre-med student Emmanuel Espinoza, 21, was charged with first-degree murder and destroying or tampering with physical evidence April 6 after stabbing his mother over 70 times. 

Emmanuel Espinoza first appeared in court April 7 for the charges. His bond for destroying or tampering with evidence is set to $5,000, and he received no bond for first degree murder.

His mother, 46-year-old Elvia Espinoza, agreed to host her youngest child, Emmanuel Espinoza, so he could visit his grandfather that weekend. 

Elvia Espinoza worked as a second-grade teacher at Ben Hill Griffin Elementary School in Polk County and was a mother of three children.

“I want you to understand she really was the perfect mom,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.

Elvia Espinoza’s daughter Marisol Longo told WTSP she was a supportive mother who taught inside and outside of the classroom. 

“She was always full of life,” Longo said. “She was always encouraging. She was our biggest supporter.”

When Emannuel Espinoza arrived in Frostproof, Florida, at 2 p.m., he put on headphones and played “No Church in the Wild” by Jay-Z and Kanye West as he stabbed Elvia Espinoza with his pocket knife after she opened the door, according to Judd. 

Elvia Espinoza was on the phone with a family member at the time of the stabbing, and she ran from Emmanuel Espinoza as he continued to stab her until she fell to the floor. 

When he saw Elvia Espinoza was still moving, he continued to stab her. While washing the pocket knife and the cut on his hand, Emmanuel Espinoza went to ask his mom for neosporin when he realized she was dead. 

He then called 911 and confessed. 

“I killed someone,” Emmanuel Espinoza said. 

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When asked how the event happened, Emmanuel Espinoza said, “I went in the door, and I stabbed my mom.”

Polk County Sheriff’s Office spoke with Emmanuel Espinoza he told them he had wanted to kill his mother for years because she “got on my nerves,” Judd said. 

Emmanuel Espinoza said he loved his mother and rated their relationship an “eight out of 10,” but decided he would murder her on his drive home from Gainesville, Judd said. 

Throughout his time in school, Elvia Espinoza sent money to Emmanuel Espinoza to allow him to live comfortably and focus on school.

He told police he knew where to stab his mother with “maximum effect” due to his education in biology classes.

Judd said Emmanuel Espinoza had no history of mental health issues and drug or alcohol abuse.

“No problems at all,” Judd said. “He was known as kind of being an introvert. Kind of a quiet guy. Zero issues.”

Emmanuel Espinoza’s only court appearance has been for his arraignment April 7. Future court dates have yet to be set as of April 14. 

He moved to have an attorney appointed by the Public Defender’s Office. Emmanuel Espinoza is currently being held at the South County Jail in Polk County.

Steve Orlando, UF vice president of communications, confirmed Emmanuel Espinoza is still enrolled as a student at UF but declined a university comment on the situation. He has been trespassed from all UF campuses within Alachua County until 2027.

Contact Megan Howard at Follow her on X @meganmhxward.

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Megan Howard

Megan Howard is a second-year journalism major and the K-12 Education reporter for The Alligator. When she's not writing, you can find her rewatching the Eras Tour movie or reading The Hunger Games series.

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