“River of Fire”: In New Memoir, Sister Helen Prejean Reflects on Decades of Fighting Executions

The Trump administration is moving ahead with plans to resume the death penalty after a more than 15-year moratorium. This week Attorney General William Barr proposed fast-tracking executions in mass murder cases, and last month ordered the execution of five death row prisoners beginning in December. The federal government has executed just three people since 1963 — the last being in 2003. The death penalty is widely condemned by national governments, international bodies and human rights groups across the world. Experts say capital punishment does not help deter homicides and that errors and racism in the criminal justice system extend to those sentenced to death. We speak with Sister Helen Prejean, a well-known anti-death-penalty activist who began her prison ministry over 30 years ago. She is the author of the best-selling book “Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty,” which was turned into an Academy Award-winning film starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn. …

California: 7-year-old Tulare County boy dies, mother now accused of double homicide in sons' deaths

Sherri Telnas
After a week of fighting for his life, a 7-year-old boy died at Valley Children's Hospital.

The boy's mother is responsible for his death and the death of his 12-year-old brother, according to Tulare County homicide detectives.

Sherri Telnas, 45, has been charged with drowning Jacob's older brother, Jackson Telna. She will most likely face additional homicide charges in connection with Jacob's death.

Last week, District Attorney Tim Ward filed a four-count complaint against Telnas. The charges shed light on the "horrific" June 29 morning in rural Tulare County.

Detectives believe the mother took her children to a rural irrigation ditch and drown both boys.

Telnas told deputies she drowned her children because "they were possessed by demons," according to court documents. After being interrogated, detectives said Telnas "threw spit" on the deputies who interviewed her.

Jackson died after being submerged in water, according to deputies. Jacob suffered a traumatic brain injury likely caused by a lack of oxygen from drowning.

An autopsy will determine an exact cause of death, deputies said.

Telnas, who was arraigned last week, faces 1 count of murder with the special circumstance of lying in wait, 1 count of attempted murder causing great bodily injury, 1 count of gassing, and 1 count of battery on a peace officer.

The special allegation that Telnas was lying in wait before allegedly killing her sons means she could be eligible for the death penalty.

Source: Visalia Times-Delta, Staff, July 8, 2019

7-year-old involved in drowning incident dies

The 7-year-old boy who was found unresponsive in a deep irrigation ditch died Saturday night at Valley Children's Hospital.

He was found a week ago Saturday morning, June 29, along with his 12-year-old brother, also unresponsive in a full irrigation ditch near a corn field in the 18900 block of Avenue 184.

The 12-year-old died as a result of the incident and the 7-year-old died a week later. The boys' mother, 45-year-old Sherri Telnas, is responsible for the death of both children, Tulare County homicide detectives stated.

An autopsy ruled the 12-year-old's death was caused by fresh water drowning.

Sherri Telnas, 45, has been charged with drowning the 12-year-old. She will most likely face an additional homicide charge for the 7-year-old's death.

Telnas told Tulare County Sheriff's Office deputies she drowned her children because "they were possessed by demons," court documents stated.

The 12-year-old died after being submerged in water, deputies stated. The 7-year-old suffered a trumatic brain injury likely caused by lack of oxygen.

An autopsy will be done to determine the exact cause of death

Telnas was arraigned last week and faces one count of murder with the special circumstance of lying in wait, one count of attempted murder causing great bodily injury, one count of battery, and one count of battery on a peace officer.

The count of murder with the special circumstances of lying in wait means Telnas faces the death penalty.

Telnas planned to enter a not guilty plea. Telnas next court date is August 15 in Department 17 of the South County Justice Center.

Source: recorderonline.com, Staff, July 8, 2019

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