Woman Charged with Murder for Running Over Man in Cat Rage Incident

The D.A. says the 20-year-old thought the victim tried to run over a cat, so she allegedly mowed him down in her own car

Hannah Star Esser, 20, has been charged with murder on Tuesday after running over a man she believed tried to run over a cat, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. Luis Anthony Victor, 43, and Esser had an argument in the street before the Esser allegedly got back in her car and plowed into Victor, killing him.

The incident occurred at 8:23 on the evening of September 25. The D.A.’s office says Esser was driving her vehicle in the 9700 block of Graham Street in Cypress when she confronted a man she believed was trying to run over a cat in the street. Esser is accused of getting out of her vehicle and recording the confrontation, which included profanity and accusations that the man, later identified as Victor, was trying to run down the feline. Victor got out of his vehicle as well and the pair argued in the street.

Esser then got back in her car, still exchanging heated words with Victor, before driving off. Instead of continuing to drive away from Victor and out of the area, according to the press release, Esser made a 3-point turn and drove back toward Victor in the direction of a cul-de-sac.  She then made a U-turn, accelerated and allegedly drove directly at Victor.

Esser is accused of intentionally driving into Victor, striking him with the right front of her car. Victor “was launched up onto the hood and windshield and flipped several times before he landed in the street,” the D.A. stated. Victor was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police arrested Esser later that night.

“This action showed a complete disregard for human life,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said.“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.”

Luis’ family is raising funds for funeral expenses.

Esser has been charged with one felony count of murder. She faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life if convicted.

Esser is scheduled to be arraigned on October 13, 2022 at the Stephen K. Tamura Justice Center in Westminster. She is being held on $1 million bail.

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