Taken from Mayra Barraza’s appeal:
Mayra Isabel Barraza (“Barraza”) appeals from the trial court’s imposition of a twenty-two year aggravated sentence for her conviction of second degree murder. On May 4, 2001, Gregorio Espinoza (“Espinoza”), a forty-seven-year-old landscaper, picked up Barraza, seventeen years old at the time, for a date at approximately 8:30 p.m. Barraza met Espinoza when Espinoza did landscaping work for the neighbors of a family Barraza babysat for. Barraza claimed that Espinoza did not have any romantic interest in her and that he knew she was homosexual. When Espinoza picked Barraza up on May 4, 2001, Espinoza stopped to purchase beer and then took her back to his house so that he could take a shower.
While at Espinoza’s house, Barraza stabbed Espinoza sixty times with a knife. Espinoza, who was five feet, two inches in height and weighed 139 pounds, bled to death in “a matter of minutes.” The wounds covered Espinoza’s chest, back, and neck, in addition to defensive wounds on the hands and forearms. Espinoza’s brother discovered the body and called the police.
When the police arrived at Espinoza’s house, they found a bloody towel used to wipe something, diluted blood in the sink, and a bloody footprint and handprint later identified as Barraza’s. The police also found a piece of paper in Espinoza’s truck with Barraza’s name, address, and phone number.
The police subsequently contacted Barraza. Barraza denied ever having been at Espinoza’s house and claimed that she was with friends on May 4, 2001. The police attempted to verify her story, but it proved to be false. During a third interview with police, which took place May 11, 2001, Barraza admitted to being with Espinoza on May 4, 2001. Barraza claimed that, although she is homosexual, she “plays men for money.” Barraza admitted, “I take their money and stuff . . . . Mostly they take me shopping, and they pay for everything that I buy, and so I just use them for rides.” She had asked Espinoza for money as well. Barraza explained that on May 4, 2001, when she was at Espinoza’s house and he claimed to be getting in the shower, Barraza went in the master bedroom. Espinoza, who was naked, then came at her, pushed her on the bed, and sexually assaulted her. She attempted to fight him off and was able to reach her purse, which held a knife that she carried for protection. She claimed that she did not know how many times she stabbed him. Barraza then remembered going to the bathroom and washing her hands. She took Espinoza’s keys and left the house. She attempted to take his truck, but it would not start. She began walking home, then later got a ride from a stranger.
The police also interviewed S. Gonzales, a friend of Barraza. Gonzales testified that approximately one week before Espinoza’s murder she was watching television with Barraza when Barraza, commenting on what they saw on television, said she wanted to “kiss a guy and slit his throat.” Barraza pulled out a knife and showed it to Gonzales. Gonzales testified that she 4thought Barraza was joking, but that Barraza said, “[w]atch,
I’ll do it. I’m going to do it, watch.” Gonzales said that Barraza wanted to “tell them she could suck on their neck and then slice their throats and take their money.” Gonzales took the knife from Barraza because, even though she “took it as a joke,” she wanted to “make sure.” Both Gonzales and Barraza forgot about the knife.
Barraza was charged with one count of first degree murder. A jury found Barraza guilty of the lesser-included offense of second degree murder. At Barraza’s sentencing hearing, held June 21, 2002, the trial court found as mitigating factors Barraza’s age and lack of prior criminal involvement. The court also found aggravating factors, including that it was an “egregious, brutal, calculated thrill killing that has caused substantial emotional harm.” The court believed that it was necessary “to protect society from what the Court believes to be a dangerous and disturbed young woman,” and accordingly sentenced her to the maximum aggravated term of twenty-two years imprisonment.
20/20: Mayra’s Revenge?
Last Name: BARRAZA
First Name: MAYRA
Middle Initial: I
Birth Date: 09/15/1983
Height (inches): 64
Hair Color: BROWN
Eye Color: BROWN
Ethnic Origin: MEXICAN AMERICAN
Sentence: 22 years
Max End Date: 05/08/2023
Unit: ASPC Perryville Santa Cruz
Commitment Information 1 record(s)
Commit# Sentence Sentence County Court Cause# Offense Date Sentence Status Crime Crime Info Felony Class Ruling Verified
A01 0220000 MARICOPA 2001007640 05/04/2001 SENT.MOD MURDER 2ND DEGREE; MURDER SECOND DEGREE; ND/NR CL2 Y YES
Sentence Information 1 record(s)
Commit# Sentence yyymmdd Admit Date Consec/ Concur Release Date(s) Supervision End Sentence Expiration Flat Maximum
A01 022/00/00 06/21/2002 Supervised:05/08/2023 07/07/2026 05/08/2023