Mother gets four-year prison sentence in drownings of two childr - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Mother gets four-year prison sentence in drownings of two children

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EL CAJON (CNS) - A woman whose two toddlers drowned in a swimming pool at a friend's home near Mount Helix while she slept was sentenced Thursday to four years in prison.

Tassie Anne Behrens, 28, pleaded guilty in July to a pair of felony child endangerment charges.

In denying Behrens probation, Jugde Laura Halgren said Behrens did not plead guilty to causing death of children, but that she put them in a very dangerous situation.

Behrens could have gotten a sentence ranging from probation to more than seven years in prison, prosecutors said.

Behrens' friend, 45-year-old Larry Dangelo, pleaded guilty to making hash oil and is awaiting sentencing.

Sheriff's Detective Norman Hubbert testified that Behrens first told him the tragedy 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 children died.

Deputies found about five dozen marijuana plants in the basement.

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, 2013. She said they all went to bed around 9 p.m. -- the children on a couch and she in a bedroom with Dangelo.

Hubbert testified that Behrens told him that she saw her children on the couch when she used the restroom about 4 a.m., but four hours later, Jason came in and asked about Harley. Behrens told the detective she fell back asleep, and neither child was there when she awoke.

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

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

Carter "Corky" Bennett, who lived in a motorhome on Dangelo's property, testified that he introduced Behrens, whom he'd known for eight or nine years, to Dangelo when she needed a place to stay and "they hit it off."

Bennett said she'd been staying at the house for about two weeks before the children drowned. He also said Dangelo played with the children and "paid attention to them."

Hubbert said Behrens told him she stayed at Dangelo's residence "on-and-off" for about one week before her children's death.

"She considered them girlfriend-boyfriend, but it was not official," the detective said.

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