Tulare County DA charges Strathmore mom Sherri Telnas with murder of 7-year-old son


STRATHMORE – The Tulare County District Attorney’s office amended their charges from last week after Strathmore mom, Sherri Telnas’s second son died on Sunday, July 7, as a result of a fresh water drowning.

Telnas allegedly murdered her 12-year-old son on June 29, and attempted to murder her 7-year-old son who was later transported to Valley Children’s Hospital in critical condition.

The District Attorney’s office initially announced on Tuesday, July 2 that Telnas was being charged for the death of her 12-year-old son with the special circumstance of lying in wait, and then attempted murder of the 7-year-old.

The DA amended the charges on Monday, July 8 to charge her with the murder of her second son.

Telnas was also charged with one count of gassing when she intentionally threw a mixture of human excrement and other bodily substances on a peace officer at the detention facility. And lastly, she was charged with battery on a peace officer. Count 4 reads that Telnas used force and violence on a police officer when she knew, or reasonably should have known she was dealing with a peace officer.

According to the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office, she had nearly killed her eldest son once before.

Detectives with the Sheriff’s office reached out to the Office of Sheriff-Coroner of Mineral County, Montana and confirmed that Telnas was in a similar criminal case in 2008.

“We can confirm [Telnas] being held in Tulare County is the woman who was initially charged in Mineral County…in April 2008, with Attempted Deliberate Homicide, a felony,” Sheriff-Coroner Mike Boone of Mineral County relayed in a statement.

The statement goes on to read that it was alleged in charging documents that Telnas admitted to attempting to drown her 10-month-old son on April 16, 2008 in the Clark Fork River near St. Regis, Montana, because “bad thought or voices” had told her to do so.

In November 2008 in a plea agreement, Telnas plead no contest to two counts of felony criminal endangerment. By that time the 10-month-old son had recovered fully and was residing in Missoula, Montana with his father.

Boone states that according to public records, Telnas was sentenced on Jan. 12, 2009 to a Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services commitment due to a history of mental illness.

On June 29, According to a County of Tulare Statement of Probable Cause, deputies from the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office Porterville substation were dispatched to 18945 Ave. 184 in Strathmore. Witnesses who called in said Telnas was acting strange when she left the residence on foot with her 12- and 7-year-old sons. When deputies arrived they saw witnesses giving CPR on both boys next to an irrigation ditch filled with two feet of water.

The statement reads that witnesses doing CPR said they searched the area and located both boys face down in the ditch. Before deputies arrived a witness caught up with Telnas and held her down.

Both sons were transported to Sierra View Hospital where the 12-year-old was pronounced deceased by a doctor. The 7-year-old was transported to Valley Children’s Hospital and is still listed in critical condition on life support at the time of the report, July 2.

At the time of her arrest Telner said she drowned both boys because they were possessed by demons. After an interview she threw spit on the Lieutenant Detective who interviewed her.

If convicted on all charges, Telnas faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole or the death penalty.

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