Darren Mansfield, 23, was sentenced to 30 years in prison for the April 2021 death of Dix Hill resident Frania Espinal, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office announced Thursday, June 8.

Based on his guilty plea and prosecutors’ investigation, Mansfield, of Gulf Shores, was first arrested on Nov. 2, 2020, for possessing a loaded handgun and ammunition from his mother. He was released two days later.

On Nov. 22, just two weeks after his first arrest, Mansfield went on a date with his first strangled victim, who remains unnamed.

As the two sat in the car, Mansfield reached out and locked the woman’s head with such force that blood vessels in her eyes ruptured and her face swelled badly.

The first victim escaped, and Mansfield was arrested again, released again despite the gun felony case being made public.

In April 2021, the family of Espinal, who was dating Mansfield at the time, reported her missing.

The investigation revealed that the last time Espinal was seen alive was a video showing her entering Mansfield’s Bay Shore apartment.

Police arrested Mansfield and investigated his home after he confessed to a friend that he had strangled someone and placed their bodies in his apartment.

Espinal’s body was found wrapped in a tarp in Mansfield’s bedroom. Her death was ruled a homicide, the cause of death was strangulation, and her injuries included blunt force trauma to the head and multiple bleedings in the neck.

Felony firearms charges and the first strangulation charge were not prosecuted until after Espinal’s death.

On Wednesday, March 29, Mansfield pleaded guilty to the following offences:

  • first-degree manslaughter;
  • second-degree strangulation; and
  • Possession of a weapon is a second degree offense.

District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney called Mansfield’s case “regrettable” in a statement, saying: “While I am the District Attorney, we will not Dangerous defendants are allowed to go unpunished where they could harm the public.”

“How dangerous does a person have to be before he’s released on bail? This defendant should be in jail every year.”

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