It’s been a year since Tevanie Deanne Lantz, 35, was stabbed to death in a neighbor’s front yard by her husband who is currently facing murder in the first degree with a special circumstance enhancement.
On Friday night, friends and family – including those who gave chase to the man allegedly responsible, Jessie Refugio Tellez – held a candlelight vigil in the yard of a home in the 600 block of South Veach Avenue where she was brutally attacked as she was trying to escape with her baby in her arms.
For the victim’s mother Marcia Marleau it was an emotional night.
“She giggled and gossiped and loved to sit and eat,” Marleau said – with emotions breaking through. “Everybody loved her, and she was just a special girl.
“What ended up happening to her just wasn’t right.”
On July 1 of last year, an argument spilled out of her duplex off of Locust Avenue and eventually onto the front yard property of a neighbors – with her covering up her young child as Tellez allegedly stabbed her to death.
As twilight set in, neighbors had already begun to gather at the site of the grizzly murder, waiting for the sun to set to formally light the candles in order to pay tribute to a woman that almost everyone in attendance had nothing but good things to say about.
Bill Kiser – a neighbor who snatched the infant after the suspect fled on foot – had to hose him down to get the blood that had spilled from his mother on top of him as she covered him up for protection.
Two other bikers gave chase on foot before Tellez eventually made his way back around and surrendered to police peacefully.
“We just want to remember her for the people who loved her,” Kiser said. “She died under such tragic circumstances.”
And Tevanie’s mother had one last message for the people that reached out and offered their assistance and their condolences.
“As a family we want to thank those who have supported our family and sent their intense gratitude,” Marleau said. “Without our church and our pastor, I’m not sure that we would have made it.”
Tellez is awaiting trial for murder in Stockton – a trial that was expected to begin in August. Police said a change in a judge assigned to hear the case has now caused the trial date to be in a temporary state of limbo.