Dejone Walker, the man arrested in the fatal knife slayings of two Madera women Thursday, likely committed the attacks in a state of psychosis after a three-day drug binge, police believe.
Chief Dino Lawson Friday identified the victims as Betty Terrell, 66, and Tonya Terrell, 51. A third woman, Jasmine Miller, 26, was also attacked, but survived to tell officers what happened during the attack. Walker, 23, is a relative of the women.
The chief said toxicology tests will establish what drugs were in Walker’s system at the time of the attacks, and it’s possible methamphetamine was involved.
The homicides took place about 5:45 p.m. and were discovered when officers were sent to a home where they found three women with knife wounds, police say. The women all lived in the 700 block of Pear Street, described by Lawson as “a nice neighborhood where you wouldn’t expect” such an incident. Walker occasionally stayed at the home.
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Walker reportedly used a household knife in the attacks. He escaped the crime scene in one of the victim’s cars and was arrested after he crashed into another vehicle on Avenue 12, injuring that driver. He abandoned the car on Avenue 9 and Road 36 in a dirt field. Authorities, including the California Highway Patrol, Madera Police and Madera County sheriff’s deputies, caught up with him and took him into custody after Walker tried to fight officers. He was subdued after officers used a stun gun and swarmed him with multiple officers.
During a pursuit by the CHP, Walker tried to jump a ditch with the stolen car, said Lawson, who added that the officers showed great restraint during the confrontation.
“They handled it very well,” he said. “My hat is off to the officers for their professionalism.”