On Monday, Brooke, now 8, and her sister, Bethanie, 9, stood beside their mother and 7-year-old brother in Fresno County Superior Court (photo above). The two young girls tried to remain stoic as they faced a judge. Their brother, whose mother named him for the father he never met, leaned on a podium and stared up at his mother as she spoke, tears rolling down his cheeks.
The four were there to remember. And they were there to ask for justice. When they finished speaking, Judge Ralph Nunez sentenced 27-year-old Ramadan Abdullah (him in blue shirt above) -- the schizophrenic man who killed 26-year-old Telen -- to life in prison without parole.
The sentence concluded the most drawn-out criminal case in Fresno County Superior Court in recent memory. And it ended a seven-year struggle for both the Telen and Abdullah families, who had waited anxiously for closure.
None of Abdullah's family members, who live on the East Coast (Binghamton NY), attended the sentencing. But defense attorney Pete Jones read a letter from Abdullah's mother, Yasmeen Shuler, who wrote: "Ramadan always thought of human life as sacred, that's why it's hard for him to believe he killed someone." Abdullah, the son of a sheriff's deputy, ran away from his family in Binghamton New York in July 2001 to join an Islamic camp in the Tulare County foothills (Muslims of the Americas). A month later, he ran off and broke into an unoccupied home near Dunlap in rural Fresno County.
When Telen and his partner entered the house to investigate, Abdullah fired almost a full load of buckshot at Telen, killing the deputy instantly. It was the first time that a Fresno County deputy had been killed in the line of duty in almost a century.
"My dad was very special to me," said Bethanie, who was 2 when her father was killed. "I would grab onto his shoulders and he would swim me to the bottom of the pool. Whenever he came home from work I would always sing, 'Bad boys, bad boys, whatchya gonna do when they come for you?' "
Jason Poole, Telen's best friend since second grade, held back tears as he asked the judge not to give Abdullah a chance at parole, "so that when we go home we will know he will not cause any more pain to anyone else."
See My prior post Saturday, September 20, 2008, RAMADAN ABDULLAH, MUSLIMS OF THE AMERICAS COP KILLER IS FOUND GUILITY IN FRESNO CA, RAMADAN ABDULLAH IS FROM BINGHAMTON NY.