A 20-year-old California woman is in custody after allegedly fatally running over a man who she believed threatened to harm a cat.
Hannah Star Esser is accused of showing “a complete disregard for human life” in the death of Luis Anthony Victor, 43, after she believed he was “trying to run over a cat in the street,” according to Law & Crime. She has been charged with one felony count of murder and faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted.
Police found the man, who is the father of five daughters according to a GoFundMe page set up for him, dead in the street, from apparent injuries suffered when Esser’s car allegedly struck him. Esser recorded herself confronting Victor around 8:3o p.m.—in what police call a “profanity-laced” rant. She accused him of threatening the feline, according to the video sequestered from her phone.
The two argued for some time before Esser got into her vehicle, made a three-point-turn and then barrelled towards the man, filming the entire incident, according to the Orange County District attorney. “This action showed a complete disregard for human life,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. “The Orange County District Attorney’s Office will ensure that this random act of violence targeting a stranger will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
A press release issued after Esser’s arrest went on to describe how the young woman acted with alleged premeditation. “Instead of continuing to drive away from Victor and out of the area, Esser made a 3-point turn and drove back towards Victor in the direction of a cul-de-sac,” the release said. “Esser then made a U-turn, accelerated and drove directly at Victor.”
Police say she hit Victor with the right front bumper of her car with such speed that it hurled him onto her hood and windshield. He then flipped several times over her car and died upon impact with the street.
Esser will be arraigned on Oct. 13 and is in custody on $1 million bond. There has been no report on the condition of the cat at the center of the argument.