A 20-year-old Salinas man was given three life sentences Wednesday — months after he pleaded guilty to killing a 7-year-old and a 3-year-old and torturing their older half-sister in 2015, according to Bay City News Service.
“The beatings, starvings, efforts to exert authority and control are really reflective of a ruthlessness that is rarely seen,” a Monterey County Superior Court judge told Gonzalo Curiel as she sentenced him, according to the Salinas Californian. “You should never get out of state prison.”
The bodies of Shaun and Delylah Tara, ages 7 and 3, were found in a storage unit in Redding — weeks after they died at the hands of Curiel and their relative, 42-year-old Tami Huntsman, according to KSBW. Curiel was 17 at the time of the murders, KSBW said. The storage unit was rented by Huntsman, the news station reported.
The children died in Huntsman’s home, the Salinas Californian reported.
Shaun, Delylah and their older sister moved into Huntsman’s apartment in Salinas in December 2013, after their mother died and their father, Huntsman’s cousin, was imprisoned and couldn’t care for them, according to KSBW.
Curiel, a friend of Huntsman’s oldest son, moved in nearly a year later, and the then-16-year-old and Huntsman soon began a sexual relationship, the TV station reported.
Huntsman’s son was at one point put behind bars — and the kids were abused and starved after he left, according to Bay City News Service.
The older sister, known as Jane Doe, testified that she, Shaun and Delylah were beaten, locked in a small cement bathroom, starved, refused medical care, and zip-tied to their beds and chairs, according to the Salinas Californian and Bay City News Service. The older sister was 9 years old at the time of the abuse, Bay City News Service reported.
The sister continues to recover from the abuse she suffered at the hands of Curiel and Huntsman, the Salinas Californian reported, and just had a second surgery to repair her broken jaw.
“I wanted my sister and brother to know what life meant. Not the meaning of being hurt, sad and killed,” she said in a victim impact statement read in court, according to KION.
Curiel will be able to seek parole in 2040 because he was a minor when he committed the crimes, the Monterey Herald said. But prosecutor Steve Somers says he plans to ensure that never happens, the newspaper reported.
“We’re going to put together a packet so that whoever succeeds me, because I won’t be here, will go in there armed with the full force of this case so that some parole board will understand that this is not a human being who should ever walk free,” Somers said.
Huntsman is serving a life sentence after a judge handed down two terms without the possibility of parole in May, the Herald reported.
Curiel’s attorney, Arthur Dudley, said Wednesday he will file a notice to appeal, the Salinas Californian reported.