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Suspect in killing of nun twice arrested and set free in 1992.

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  • Suspect in killing of nun twice arrested and set free in 1992.

    The man indicted Thursday in Klamath Falls on charges of raping and killing
    a nun was apprehended in the Portland railroad yards in 1992 by a federal
    immigration official who made him promise to leave the country. The
    Immigration and Naturalization Service agent who arrested Maximiliano
    Silerio Esparza on Oct. 21, 1992, apparently was unaware that Esparza
    wasn't just another undocumented immigrant. Esparza had been in a
    California prison earlier that year and had already received formal
    deportation orders from an Arizona immigration judge.

    Esparza was asked to sign an I-210, a form that is part of the INS' most
    casual deportation program, which some INS agents derisively call
    "catch-and-release." The document made him acknowledge he was in the United
    States illegally and promise to leave shortly, according to an internal INS
    record of the incident obtained by The Oregonian.

    A month later, Portland police arrested Esparza on suspicion of selling
    cocaine in Old Town. But again Esparza was released -- this time after one
    night in jail. Esparza was later indicted on the drug charges but never
    showed up at court in January 1993. He has had a warrant out for his arrest
    ever since.

    Ed Sale, spokesman for the INS Portland District, said he couldn't comment
    on any of the agency's encounters with Esparza. He said the INS relies on
    police to inform it when a potentially illegal immigrant has been arrested.
    He also said the agency's 1992 encounter with Esparza in Portland may have
    been handled by the U.S. Border Patrol, which is part of INS but not
    directly overseen by the Portland office.

    Esparza was indicted by a Klamath Falls grand jury Thursday on 11 counts,
    including aggravated murder, rape and sodomy. Police say Esparza rode a
    train from Portland to Klamath Falls last weekend before visiting a strip
    bar and then attacking two nuns early Sunday morning while they were
    praying on a downtown bike path.

    Authorities say he head-butted one of the nuns, then proceeded to rape them
    both while controlling them with the rosary beads around their necks. Helen
    Chaska -- who went by the name Sister Helena Maria -- died in the attack,
    strangled by her own beads, according to an autopsy report.

    Klamath County Prosecutor Ed Caleb is seeking the death penalty for
    Esparza. He said he is putting two staff investigators on the case full
    time to try to piece together Esparza's past. Investigators, Caleb said,
    are looking into as many as nine different aliases Esparza has used.

  • #2
    The man indicted Thursday in Klamath Falls on charges of raping and killing
    a nun was apprehended in the Portland railroad yards in 1992 by a federal
    immigration official who made him promise to leave the country. The
    Immigration and Naturalization Service agent who arrested Maximiliano
    Silerio Esparza on Oct. 21, 1992, apparently was unaware that Esparza
    wasn't just another undocumented immigrant. Esparza had been in a
    California prison earlier that year and had already received formal
    deportation orders from an Arizona immigration judge.

    Esparza was asked to sign an I-210, a form that is part of the INS' most
    casual deportation program, which some INS agents derisively call
    "catch-and-release." The document made him acknowledge he was in the United
    States illegally and promise to leave shortly, according to an internal INS
    record of the incident obtained by The Oregonian.

    A month later, Portland police arrested Esparza on suspicion of selling
    cocaine in Old Town. But again Esparza was released -- this time after one
    night in jail. Esparza was later indicted on the drug charges but never
    showed up at court in January 1993. He has had a warrant out for his arrest
    ever since.

    Ed Sale, spokesman for the INS Portland District, said he couldn't comment
    on any of the agency's encounters with Esparza. He said the INS relies on
    police to inform it when a potentially illegal immigrant has been arrested.
    He also said the agency's 1992 encounter with Esparza in Portland may have
    been handled by the U.S. Border Patrol, which is part of INS but not
    directly overseen by the Portland office.

    Esparza was indicted by a Klamath Falls grand jury Thursday on 11 counts,
    including aggravated murder, rape and sodomy. Police say Esparza rode a
    train from Portland to Klamath Falls last weekend before visiting a strip
    bar and then attacking two nuns early Sunday morning while they were
    praying on a downtown bike path.

    Authorities say he head-butted one of the nuns, then proceeded to rape them
    both while controlling them with the rosary beads around their necks. Helen
    Chaska -- who went by the name Sister Helena Maria -- died in the attack,
    strangled by her own beads, according to an autopsy report.

    Klamath County Prosecutor Ed Caleb is seeking the death penalty for
    Esparza. He said he is putting two staff investigators on the case full
    time to try to piece together Esparza's past. Investigators, Caleb said,
    are looking into as many as nine different aliases Esparza has used.

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