New attorney for mom accused in kids' drownings - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

New attorney for mom accused in kids' drownings

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EL CAJON (CNS) - A judge appointed a new attorney Friday for a woman charged with child endangerment after her two toddlers drowned in a pool at a friend's home near Mt. Helix where a cannabis-cultivation operation was discovered.

In addition to child endangerment Tassie Anne Behrens, 27, is charged with possession of marijuana for sale, cultivation of marijuana and manufacturing a honey oil -- or hash oil -- lab.

Co-defendant Larry Dangelo is also charged in the case.

Separately, Behrens also is charged with offering to furnish heroin and being under the influence of methamphetamine, which a blood test determined to be in her system the day her children died.

A scheduled motion to dismiss charges against Behrens was never filed and Judge Daniel Goldstein appointed the Public Defender's Office to represent the defendant. A status conference was set for Feb. 21.

Sheriff's Detective Norman Hubbert testified at a preliminary hearing last year that Behrens first told him the drownings took place at a mobile home park in Spring Valley, but when he told her that deputies went to the house at 10011 Sunset Ave. rented by Dangelo, she conceded that was where the tragedy had occurred.

According to the detective, Behrens took her son, Jason Bradford Jr., 2 years and 9 months old, and daughter Harley Bradford, 16 months, swimming the night of May 12. She said they all went to bed around 9 p.m., the children on a couch and she in a bedroom with Dangelo.

Hubbert said Behrens told them she saw her children on the couch when she used the restroom around 4 a.m., but four hours later, Jason came in and asked where Harley was. Behrens told the detective she fell back asleep, and neither child was around when she woke up.

"She went out to the back patio that overlooks the backyard and saw the children face-down in the pool," Hubbert said.

She ran down screaming to the pool and pulled them out, and the children were rushed to Grossmont Hospital, where Harley was pronounced dead. Jason was transferred to Rady Children's Hospital, but he also died.

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