A San Diego mom who was high of methamphetamine when her two toddlers drowned in a pool last year was sentenced on Thursday to four years in prison.
Tassie Behrens, 27, had earlier pleaded guilty to two counts of felony child endangerment in connection to the May 2013 drownings of her 2-year-old son, Jason Bradford Jr., and 16-month-old daughter, Harley Bradford.
The toddlers drowned in a swimming pool at an unincorporated La Mesa home. Prosecutors described Behrens as a drug addict, who was unresponsive that day when her 2-year-old tried to wake her to say his little sister was missing.
Behrens told him to go back to sleep, prosecutors said. The boy’s clothes were later found at the edge of the pool and authorities believe he was trying to save his sister.
Once she discovered the children face down in her friend's pool, Behrens made several decisions that hampered officials.
Instead of calling 911, she and her friend drove the children to a fire station 15 minutes away.
She also lied to investigators about where the children died to cover up a marijuana growing operation inside the home, officials said.
Behrens’ attorney on Thursday said the toddler nourished and were well-cared for. He asked the judge to sentence his client to probation, also pointing out Behrens’ lack of criminal history.
San Diego Superior Court Judge Laura Halgren denied probation and sentenced Behrens to four years, saying she hoped it sent a message to the community about the effects of drug addiction.
"The punishment is partly for deterrence," she judge said.
With credit for the time she’s already served in jail, Behrens could be free by next August.
Behrens' mother, father, sister, brother-in-law and friends were in court for her sentencing. The only statement they wished to make was to say that Behrens will have to live the rest of her life knowing what happened to her children.