By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Keeping Tevanies spirit alive in world scarred by evil
Placeholder Image
Justice is bittersweet.

The man who brutally killed Tevanie Deanne Lutz as she ran for her life - and that of her 3-year-old son she was clutching as she fled her Manteca home in the early morning darkness 18 months ago - is going to prison.

Jesse Refugio Tellez, 50, was found guilty Wednesday by a San Joaquin County jury for the heinous act of first degree murder. Tellez had vowed to love and cherish Tevanie as her husband. Instead he robbed her of this world’s most precious gift - life.

The question now is what will live on: The sunshine and hope that Tevanie brought into the world or the evil personified by her killer?

What little I knew of Tevanie was when I crossed her path while she was hanging out with my step-daughter Heather. The two were good friends.

Tevanie wasn’t perfect. Just like the rest of us she had her faults. But she truly wanted what was best for others - her children and even friends who were struggling with issues of their own. She also struck me as the eternal optimist trying to find good and striving for better days ahead.

It seems wrong that Tevanie - as well as other innocents slaughtered by evil - are remembered by those who didn’t know them by the heinous act committed on them.

Tevanie physically left this earth at age 35. She lives on, though, in all that she passed on to others - her children, family, and her friends.

It is a gift she has given that should never be tainted by the well-deserved hatred that animals such as Tellez have directed at them.

The best way to avoid the evil spread by the likes of Tellez is to strengthen our resolve to try and steer impressionable young people from poisonous role models that glorify violence, abuse, and treachery as somehow being manly.

They are anything but.

It takes a coward to kill someone else in cold blood.

Hopefully Tevanie’s children, family and friends can take comfort knowing that she brought her share of good into this world.

It is something that Olivia Morino of Ripon – who lost her daughter Mary Morino-Starkey in 2006 – to murderer Roy Gerald Smith – takes comfort in when the pain of her loss pricks at her heart.

Her mother made a painful yet eloquent point. After being told of the killer’s high risk classification as a sex offender, she noted that it would have probably comforted her daughter to know that some child hadn’t been a victim of Smith’s instead.

Such a statement stuns at first but it speaks to the true goodness of people like Mary Morino-Starkey.

Tevanie likewise would take great comfort in knowing her son was not physically hurt.

It is that concern for others that we should focus on. This week 30-year-old  Monique Nelson gave her life making sure her 2-year-old son was not struck by bullets exchanged by cowards settling their gang differences with guns in a South Sacramento strip mall.

Nothing can bring Tevanie, Mary, or Monique back.

But what we can all do is not cower in the darkness spread by those whose souls are blackened with rage, contempt, and blood.

The magic of Tevanie’s way-too-brief of a dance upon this earth will never dissipate as long as the rest of us keep the flickering flame of good burning in our hearts to light the way for others to journey through life not driven by fear but by hope.