pre-med student accused of stabbing his own mother to death because she "annoyed him."

April 16, 2024

Twenty-one-year-old Emmanuel "Manny" Espinoza, a fourth-year pre-med student at the University of Florida, is accused of stabbing his own mother over 70 times earlier this month.

On Saturday, April 6, 2024, Manny Espinoza made the almost three-hour drive from Gainesville, Florida to Frostproof, to visit relatives back home, and attend his grandfather’s event.  

His mother, Elvia Espinoza, 46, a second-grade teacher at Ben Hill Griffin Elementary in Frostproof, told him that she missed him, and that he should stay with her one night while visiting.

Elvia was born in San Lucas, Michoacan, Mexico in the summer of 1977, and eventually moved to Frostproof. She had three children, of which Manny was the youngest, and she was well-liked in the community.  Elvia loved spending time with her children and grandchildren, and was excited at Manny’s plans to visit, since it had been a while since she had seen him.

Manny himself was described by those who knew him as “brilliant”. He did well with his studies, graduated at the top of his class in 2020, and was class valedictorian at Frostproof Middle-Senior High School.  His mother was very proud of him.

As far as anyone knew, he didn’t have any issues with drugs or alcohol, and had no criminal history, nor a history of mental health issues.

Footage from Elvia Espinoza’s Ring camera shows her son approaching the home at around 2pm on April 6, 2024. He is shown walking up the path towards the front door, clad in dark clothing; a navy-colored T-shirt, blue jeans, and sunglasses.

A large knife held behind his back is visible on the recording, and he is shown trying the door, which is locked.

Manny Espinoza is then shown waiting patiently for his excited mother to open the door, and when she does, he barges in and attacks her mercilessly, stabbing her in a frenzy. His mother can be heard screaming his name over and over on the video audio.

He would later tell police that at the time of the slaying he was listening to “No Church in the Wild,” by Jay-Z and Kanye West in his headphones.

While being questioned, Manny Espinoza would reveal further disturbing details, telling officers that he knew “exactly where” to stab his mother for maximum and fatal damage, citing his medical knowledge. He mainly stabbed the victim in the chest and stomach.

When she tried to get up off the floor he stabbed her again, several times, he said.

After stabbing her tens of times, Espinoza said he realized she was still moving her hands, so continued to stab her more, “in excess of 70 times,” in total police say.

After killing his mother, he said he noticed he had cut his own hand in the attack, and turned to asked her for Neosporin to treat the wound, before realizing that she was dead.

When asked about his motive, Espinoza told police that he had “wanted to kill his mother for years” and had worked up the motivation to do so during the drive from Gainesville to Frostproof.

After washing the cut on his hand in the sink, he took out his phone to call 911 and confessed to the crime while still inside the house.

Polk County Sheriff's office described the crime as one of the most bizarre they've dealt with in recent times. They were perplexed when they arrived at the scene and began questioning the young man, asking him if there had been some sort of argument between him and his mother, which he said there had not been.

When asked if he loved his mother, he said he did. He also said that “eight out of ten times” they got along. In fact, they kept in touch with each other through messaging, and messaged almost every day.

He maintained that he had “always wanted to kill her” to police, saying that she had “annoyed” him since childhood.  When asked to elaborate, he said that she “would ask questions out loud and answer them,” and was “irritating” and “annoying.”

Police searched Espinoza’s room back in Florida, looking for any evidence that the murder of his mother was premeditated, but found nothing.

They were also able to officially confirm that Espinoza no history of drug or alcohol abuse or mental health issues. Nor any history of Baker Acts or arrest.

In a public appearance regarding the case, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said in a statement: "His beautiful mother, who was so excited to see her son, opened the door. The second she opened the door, he charged in and started stabbing her. He made the statement that he knew where to stab her for maximum effect because of his biology classes."

He added: "You’ve got this wonderful mom, who’s not just wonderful for her children, but she spent years teaching and was so well-loved in the community, so it’s frustrating for all of us."

Espinoza was booked into the Polk County Jail and charged with first degree murder and evidence tampering.

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