Friday, August 29, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Talamantes found sane in daughter’s death

By
From page A1 | June 03, 2014 |

TalamantesMugW

Aquelin Talamantes. Sue Cockrell/Enterprise photo

WOODLAND — A Yolo County jury rejected the notion that Aquelin Talamantes was legally insane when she drowned her 5-year-old daughter in the bathtub of a South Davis home last fall, clearing the way for her to be sentenced to state prison for the crime.

The verdict was read in Yolo Superior Court Judge Stephen Mock’s courtroom at 10:20 a.m. today, just over an hour after the jury gathered at the courthouse to resume its deliberations in the case’s sanity phase.

“We’re very glad that the jury’s verdict brings justice to Tatiana Garcia,” Deputy District Attorney Ryan Couzens, who prosecuted the monthlong trial, said an interview. “We have always maintained there is one victim in this case, and that is Tatiana.”

Defense attorney Sally Fredericksen could not immediately be reached for comment. Sentencing is set for July 7, with Talamantes facing a term of 25 years to life for the jury’s previous finding that she committed first-degree murder and child assault.

Talamantes, 29,  showed no visible emotion as the verdicts were read, but moments later wailed loudly as sheriff’s deputies escorted her from the courtroom. Her cries could be heard echoing from the elevator as she was taken to the court’s inmate holding facility.

Jurors received the case shortly before 4 p.m. Monday following a second round of closing arguments by attorneys, with the defense having the burden of proving Talamantes suffered from mental disease or defect on Sept. 26, 2013, and that her condition rendered her incapable of knowing that killing young Tatiana Garcia was morally or legally wrong.

Fredericksen, said her client underwent a “psychotic break” that morning, believing that police in the neighborhood were going to cut off her daughter’s head and that, “in her twisted mind,” she was protecting Tatiana by drowning her.

“Only later does she realize, oh my God, what have I done?” Fredericksen told the jury. “I think you should see she was legally insane at the time of this offense.”

Couzens contends Talamantes was sane, noting that her methodical concealment of Tatiana’s body following her death — wrapping it in a blanket and trash bag, placing it in the trunk of her car and lying to relatives about the girl’s whereabouts — “indicate that she knew what she doing was wrong.”

Monday’s closing arguments followed testimony by Dr. Joan Gerbasi, a psychiatrist retained by the prosecution, who said Talamantes demonstrated symptoms of borderline personality disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, but in her opinion fell short of the “acute paranoid psychosis” diagnosis reached by defense-retained psychiatrist Dr. Captane Thomson.

Gerbasi, who participated in the evaluation of Andrea Yates — the Texas mother found not guilty by reason of insanity for the 2001 drowning deaths of her five young children — pointed out multiple inconsistencies between Talamantes’ reported symptoms and those typically seen among mentally ill patients.

While people suffering from conditions such as schizophrenia tend to deny there is anything wrong with them and therefore resist treatment, “she continually thrust her illness forward” during two interviews this spring at the Yolo County Jail, Gerbasi recalled. “She kept telling me, ‘I’m sick — I belong in a hospital.’ ”

Also, “she endorsed a tremendous amount of symptoms that are not consistent with any known psychiatric disorder,” such as walls changing colors and knives protruding from the floor, Gerbasi testified.

In the Texas case, Yates consistently expressed her fear that her children “weren’t righteous” and doomed to go to hell, but felt she could save them by killing them young, Gerbasi said. By contrast, Talamantes’ claim that she was protecting her daughter from police by drowning her wasn’t mentioned for more than two months until her interviews with Thomson — another sign of possible embellishment, Gerbasi said.

“When you’re faced with having done an act like this and spending a long time in prison, I think it’s natural for her to make the strongest case for herself, because she’s got a bad future in front of her,” Gerbasi testified. By presenting symptoms that could bring hospitalization instead of prison, “she’s trying to make it a little bit better.”

But Gerbasi said it’s more likely that Talamantes’ actions were the result of an extremely stressful situation — an overwhelmed single mother with no job or income prospects facing eviction from her sister’s South Davis home, among other troubles.

“She was in an increasingly desperate state, which is a setup for her losing it with her child,” Gerbasi said.

— Reach Lauren Keene at lkeene@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8048. Follow her on Twitter at @laurenkeene

Comments

comments

.

News

Davis Innovation Center team fields questions

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Saving Putah Creek: a quiet concert at sunset

By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Mr. Dolcini goes to Washington

By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Winton to be feted for her many years of community work

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Researchers solve mystery of Death Valley’s moving rocks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
California extends review of $25B delta plan

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Assembly approves statewide ban on plastic bags

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Forum explores local mental health services

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Solar-cooking workshop set at Food Co-op

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Celebrate the Senior Center at Sept. 9 luncheon

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Need a new best friend?

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Equestrian eventing competition slated

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Dinner, auction benefit Yolo County CASA

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Kids can sign up for a library card and get a free book

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Explorit Science Center: Volunteers supercharge summer camp

By Lisa Justice | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Tee off for Davis’ continued prosperity

By Lily Holmes | From Page: A4

 
 
Bodega Marine Laboratory hosts open house

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Local group charts a year’s worth of beauty in flowers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Free blood pressure screenings offered

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Name Droppers: UCD honors two of its own

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

 
Books, conversation and poetry at Logos

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
.

Forum

Let’s sell the MRAP on eBay

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

 
Seeing both sides of ‘tank’

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

What if we need MRAP?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

 
How could tank be helpful?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: C2

Don’t sentence our police to death

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: C2, 1 Comment

 
Will Davis see river water?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

Travel buddy is getting too fat

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
.

Sports

Forget the score; focus on the energy brought by Aggies

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

 
Returning seniors, new faces lead promising DHS links squad

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Devil golfers return from Scotland with smiles on their faces

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Devils scrimmage with Sac

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: B1 | Gallery

UCD-Stanford: the clock is down to counting the minutes

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

 
Sports briefs: DHS girls fall by the slimmest of net margins

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B6 | Gallery

Wire briefs: Aces cruise past Cats at Raley

By Wire and staff reports | From Page: B6

 
.

Features

.

Arts

‘The November Man’: Who can be trusted?

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
B Street’s ‘The Ladies Foursome’ is aces

By Bev Sykes | From Page: A9 | Gallery

.

Business

Technology makes a great car better

By Ali Arsham | From Page: C1 | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

Margarita Elizondo

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Elaine Dracia Greenberg

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

.

Comics