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The Sacramento Bee
May 21, 2104
By Kim Minugh – firstname.lastname@example.org
After evaluating Talamantes, 29, in November and again in December, psychiatrist Captane Thomson testified in Yolo Superior Court that he believed the woman suffered from “acute paranoid psychosis” at the time she held her 5-year-old daughter Tatiana Garcia face-up under her bath water the morning of Sept. 26, killing her. Thomson said Talamantes admitted the act in her second meeting with him – saying “it was quick” – and said she regretted it deeply.
Talamantes is accused of murder in connection with the little girl’s death in the Davis home they shared with Talamantes’ younger son, then-4-year-old Michael Garcia; Talamantes’ oldest sister, Elisa Torres; and Torres’ teenage son. She then put Tatiana’s body in a bag, stowed it in her car trunk and drove to another sister’s apartment in Sacramento, where authorities found the girl and tried to revive her.
Talamantes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. Her attorney, Deputy Public Defender Sally Fredericksen, said her client’s sustained physical and sexual abuse as a child, the murder of her mother when she was 11 years old and a violent relationship with the father of her children have contributed to her unraveling.
So unraveled was she the day she drowned her daughter that she was in a “different mind state,” Thomson testified that Talamantes told him. “She said she thought the cops would ‘cut my daughter’s head off.’ ”
Though not included in his testimony Wednesday, he said last week that Talamantes was hearing voices in addition to suffering the delusions that the cops were after her daughter.
Torres, who cared for her six younger siblings after their mother died in 1995, has testified that she, too, witnessed her sister’s downward spiral. Couzens, who rested his case Wednesday, has continued to downplay Talamantes’ alleged mental health crisis in questioning Fredericksen’s witnesses. Thomson’s testimony continues Thursday.
In January 2013, Talamantes saw a physician’s assistant at a community clinic in Oak Park for back pain, a sinus infection and anxiety. She left with prescriptions to treat all three. Later that month, a wellness counselor at another clinic diagnosed her with “major depressive disorder” after Talamantes reported feeling anxious, unmotivated and overwhelmed. Asked by Couzens, counselor Trina King testified that Talamantes never mentioned any kind of hallucinations or seizures.
King saw Talamantes again April 17 when she reported feeling anxious and paranoid. Concerned by her behavior, King brought in a supervisor, and they came up with a safety plan. That included coping skills and cutting down on marijuana use, as “typically marijuana is linked to paranoia,” King said, again after questioning by Couzens.
On May 1, Talamantes called King to tell her about the 5150 hold and ask about getting her prescriptions filled. King gave her the number to a county clinic.
The day she was arrested in connection with her daughter’s death, blood tests showed opiates – likely from pain pills – and Prozac in her system. She tested negative for marijuana, alcohol and all other drugs.
Also absent from her system was her Resperidone, Thomson testified, “the one medication that would have helped control her symptoms.” She hadn’t taken one, he said, since leaving Sacramento’s mental health facility in April.
Since being taken into custody, Talamantes has resumed anti-psychotic medications.
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Talamantes convicted of murder in death of daughter
The Sacramento Bee
MAY 30, 2014
Aquelin Talamantes knew exactly what she was doing when she drowned her 5-year-old girl in the bathtub last fall, a Yolo County jury found Friday after less than three days of deliberations.
She acted in a “willful, deliberate and premeditated” manner when she held Tatiana Garcia face-up in the bath water at her oldest sister’s Davis home, making her guilty of first-degree murder, jurors determined.
Should she go to a correctional facility, Talamantes faces a term of 25 years to life with the possibility of parole. A second-degree conviction would have landed her a sentence of 15 years to life.
Testy exchanges between Deputy District Attorney Ryan Couzens and psychiatrist Captane Thomson seen last week were repeated Friday, with the annoyed doctor at one point charging that the prosecutor was “dead wrong” and that he didn’t think one of his questions “merits an answer.”
“I don’t think your concern is appropriate here,” Thomson told Couzens after the prosecutor questioned whether Talamantes could be free within months if hospital doctors determine she is not actually mentally ill, as Couzens has argued, and therefore should be released.
“Thank you for that,” Couzens retorted.
Thomson said they will continue to treat patients “even when they look as they are no longer mentally ill or … not a danger,” later adding that hospitals can hold people “indefinitely.”
“Getting out of the hospital is much more difficult than getting out of prison,” Thomson said under questioning by Deputy Public Defender Sally Fredericksen.
He also testified the hospitals are surrounded by 12-foot fences topped with razor wire and are extremely difficult to enter or exit. “People do not escape,” he said.
Talamantes wrapped the unconscious girl in a blanket, put her in a garbage bag and stuffed the bag in the trunk of her car. She then drove to another sister’s apartment in Sacramento, where police, summoned by worried relatives, made the gruesome discovery.
According to testimony, Talamantes made conflicting statements about her motivation, saying at various points that she thought the girl was Satan, that voices made her do it and that she did it to spare her daughter from decapitation by police.
Again asked by Couzens how he could accurately diagnose somebody who sometimes appears to lie, Thomson acknowledged the discrepancies, but said that did not change his opinion. He also took notable exception to the prosecutor’s use of the word “lie” and asked him instead to describe it as embellishment or exaggeration.
“I see this nice lady as a very disturbed woman,” he said. “I’m not surprised she gave different descriptions.”
He later said that he had once told Talamantes she was not “prison material” and testified Friday that she would be better treated in a mental hospital.
“You felt sorry for Ms. Talamantes,” Couzens said.
“I think it’s just a terrible, terrible shame to have something like this happen,” Thomson replied.
The doctor is expected to return to the stand Monday morning. A second psychiatrist also is scheduled to testify before jurors decide how Talamantes will serve her time.