Darren Mansfield of Bay Shore was sentenced to 30 years...

Darren Mansfield of Bay Shore was sentenced to 30 years in prison for the strangulation death of Frania Espinal. Credit: James Carbone

A 23-year-old Bay Shore man was sentenced to 30 years in prison Thursday for strangling a girlfriend months after nearly killing another woman, all while out on bail for a weapons arrest.

Darren Mansfield, who pleaded guilty in March to first-degree manslaughter and second-degree strangulation, declined to address the court as he was sentenced in the November 2020 death of 22-year-old Frania Espinal of Dix Hills and the earlier brutal attack. As part of a plea agreement, he will serve 25 years for the killing followed by five additional years for the nonfatal attack, the judge said.

“These were the vicious attacks of defenseless women,” Acting Suffolk Supreme Court Justice Richard Horowitz told Mansfield at his sentencing in Riverhead. “What's odd to me is that … most people find you to be polite, well spoken, well mannered. But that does not appear to be who you are. There are some significant demons.”

Horowitz noted that probation officials noted that Mansfield demonstrated "escalating violence." The judge said he had to take a break reading a statement from Mansfield’s first victim, who he said described in “excruciating detail what it’s like to have the life choked out of you.”

“It’s only by some miracle that she did not suffer the same fate as Frania,” Horowitz said of the woman, who was not named or present Thursday.

Prosecutors said the first assault occurred on Nov. 22, 2020, while Mansfield was on a date with the woman at Bay Shore Marina. They were in a car when he put her in a headlock and “applied such force to her neck that he caused broken blood vessels in both her eyes and mouth, and severe swelling and bruising to her eyes, all of which are hallmark injuries caused by acts of violent strangulation,” prosecutors said in a news release.

By April 2021, having not yet been indicted in the earlier assault, Mansfield was dating Espinal when she was reported missing by family.

Espinal’s mother, Jesenia Quinones, told Horowitz that as she was speaking to police to report her daughter missing, Mansfield showed up and vowed to help find her.

“All that time, he knew what he had done,” Quinones said. “He had police searching for my daughter’s lifeless body.”

Prosecutors said the pair was spotted on video entering Mansfield’s apartment April 10, 2021 and he later confessed to a friend that he had “strangled someone and had the body in his residence.”

Espinal’s body was discovered by investigators wrapped in tarp inside Mansfield’s bedroom on April 16, 2021. She had suffered multiple injuries. including blunt force trauma to her head, hemorrhages to her neck and a fracture of the thyroid cartilage, according to a news release.

Quinones described Espinal as a hard working “role model,” who had studied criminal justice.

“The justice system failed her,” Quinones said.

Mansfield’s defense attorney, Jerald Carter of Garden City, said his client “accepts responsibility” and is remorseful for his actions.

“[He’s] totally aware of the devastation that he has caused,” Carter said.

Mansfield was out on $20,000 cash bail following a Nov. 2, 2020 arrest for Criminal Possession of a Weapon after police found him with a handgun and ammunition belonging to his mother when he committed the attacks, prosecutors said.

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