Facing their responsibility for murder
December 9, 2004
For the second time in four years, a man believed to be responsible for a Northern Nevada murder has taken his own life in a jail cell.
This time it was Israel Tellez in Utah State Prison. Tellez, who was behind bars for pulling a gun on deputies trying to question him, hadn’t yet been charged with the murder of 33-year-old Bertha Anguiano, but prosecutors were preparing the case against him.
There seemed little doubt, based on the evidence and the timeline of events, that Tellez was the man who took the life of Anguiano and left behind her 3-year-old son in a Dayton grocery store parking lot.
Almost four years ago, it was Robert Soria Sr. who took an overdose of drugs on the day after his trial had begun in Douglas County for one of the most heinous crimes in recent years – the kidnapping and killing of 9-year-old Krystal Steadman.
In the eyes of the law, both Tellez and Soria Sr. died still innocent of the murders. They spared the families of their victims the agony of trials, and they spared taxpayers the expense of bringing them to justice.
But there’s no redemption for such crimes. There’s only an escape from the responsibility to face those families – to face all of society – and recognize the pain and suffering people like Tellez and Soria Sr. cause.
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As one family member said on learning of Soria Sr. suicide in January 2001, “He didn’t suffer enough.”
Nevertheless, it’s not about retribution or revenge, either – at least, it shouldn’t be. The fulfillment of justice – crime, prosecution, punishment – closes a circle that allows the rest of us to proceed with our lives with a sense of order.
It is any wonder that a man cowardly enough to kill a child or a child’s mother would also kill himself? More evidence that to the end they thought only of themselves.