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Husband guilty in stabbing death
Killed wife as she held on to her 3-year-old son
Holding candles during a vigil in August of 2009 at First Baptist Church for their cousin Tevanie Deanne Lutz were, from left, Emily Songer, Madyssen Borges, and DJ Hammerbeck. - photo by HIME ROMERO
Jessee Refugio Tellez, 50, was found guilty of first degree murder by a San Joaquin County Superior Court jury Wednesday for the knifing death of his 35-year-old wife Tevanie Deanne Tellez some 18 months ago in Manteca.

The second phase of the trial will now get under way to determine the sanity of the convicted murderer who has been given enhancements by the court for using a knife in the predawn homicide and for endangering the 3-year-old boy his wife was holding when she was repeatedly stabbed.  

The first phase of the trial began Nov. 30 before Judge Seth Hoyt. It took the jury only two weeks to reach a guilty verdict.  The second phase is expected to be completed within a week, according to Manteca detective Wayne Miller.

The murder occurred on July 1, 2009 in the 500 block of Veach Avenue.  The mother of three children, worked as a registered nurse at county hospital in French Camp.  

Tevanie Tellez had fled her husband, running  toward Veach Avenue from the family’s rear apartment unit – some 150 feet to the roadway – with her husband catching up with her with his knife in hand in a neighbor’s front yard as she ran for her life with her young son in her arms.
A 12-year-old daughter called police at 2:44 a.m. saying frantically that her dad was killing her mom near the street.   Neighbors reported hearing yelling and screaming from next door in the south central part of the residential community.

Police officers Tom Nunes and Bob Anderson responded to the scene administering first aid and CPR on a next door lawn in an effort to save the woman’s life.  She was transported to Manteca’s Kaiser Hospital where doctors pronounced her dead on arrival.

Following the assault, the husband was last seen scaling a back fence and disappearing in the dark with two men chasing him on foot.   He was later seen by officers walking on a sidewalk back toward his apartment where he was arrested without incident.

Tellez has been held in the San Joaquin County Jail in French Camp for the last year and a half since the homicide occurred.  His bail was set at $5,010,000; however a “no bail” Border Patrol hold took precedence over any possible release from custody.

Bill and Patty Kaiser – living next door – remember hearing the commotion that night.  When they investigated shortly before 3 a.m., they found two young children shivering in the cold – a 3e-year-old and a 4-year-old.
The two brothers were visibly traumatized when the couple took them into their home and treated them like their own grandchildren.  The 3-year-old was crying for his mom while still covered with blood having to be hosed off outside.

It has definitely been an emotional year for Tevanie’s stepmother Debbie Marleau.  She said this week that the story of her son-in-law’s conviction should be printed in the paper to remind the community that domestic violence is not something that should be hidden away and swept under the rug in a family.

“His children who had to watch him kill their mother – Tevanie’s mother and father who have had to deal with her loss each and every day – her brothers who tried so hard to get her to leave – her grandmother – her aunts and her cousin:  Jesse destroyed so many lives,” Marleau said.
She stressed that domestic violence does not go away – if just one person can get out of a similar violent situation because of reading your story – that’s what counts, she said.

“Tevanie’s children deserve to (someday) see it in print that justice was done.  Her son is only 4;  it will be many years before he will know the entire story, but without anything in writing, it will be hard for him to understand,” she said.    

Tevanie’s younger brother, Kevin Lance, then 35, said he had warned his sister, and police too, that he believed his sister would be murdered by her husband.  He had said she was in the process of getting a restraining order against Tellez.  Lantz added that his brother-in-law had taken one of the children to Mexico in the past as leverage to get his wife to move there with him.

Lantz cited Tellez as being a heroin addict who had been seriously stabbed in the throat and the heart while in prison years ago – one of his several prisons stays around the country.   He had been employed at the San Joaquin County Hospital for the previous eight years, he said.