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Talen Barton, The Documents

The Crime

On July 19, 2015, Talen Barton was at the residence of Cindy and Coleman Palmieri, Barton’s foster parents in the past. Also at the residence where Ms. Palmieri's brother, Theodore Norvell, her son Teo Palmieri and two minor females who are also related to the Palmieris. Late in the evening after everyone had gone to bed Barton went into Teo’s room and placed his hand over Teo’s mouth as he slept and attempted to slice his throat with a knife. Teo woke up and started screaming as he fought for his life due to the traumatic injury to his neck. Ms. Palmieri heard her son screaming, entered his room and was immediately stabbed in the neck by Barton. After being stabbed in the neck, Ms. Palmieri started screaming for her husband, Coleman. Barton then went to the bedroom of Coleman and Cindy Palmieri. However, once Barton arrived he met Mr. Palmieri running for the door. Once they reached each other, Barton stabbed Mr. Palmieri in the throat. After the confrontation with Mr. Palmieri, Barton went downstairs where he observed Mr. Norvell entering the kitchen. He then stabbed Mr. Norvell in the neck.

During these cold-blooded brutal stabbings, Mrs. Palmieri bled profusely as her brother desperately clung to his life as well. At one point during the commission of the crime, Barton had stated, "I should just put her out of her misery" when he learned that Ms. Palmieri was not dead after stabbing her. Ms. Palmieri described a moment after Talen had stabbed her brother, Theodore. Barton looked back at her and stated, "You're not dead yet." As a result of Barton's actions, Teo eventually died from multiple stab wounds to his neck and body. Mr. Palmieri also lost his life due to multiple stab wounds to his neck and body and Mrs. Palmieri and Mr. Norvell suffered from severe injuries.

Probation spoke with pathologist Dr. Jacqueline Benjamin regarding the injuries the deceased victims suffered. Dr. Benjamin stated that Mr. Palmieri 's injuries were brutally severe. She said the wound to his chest was fatal as he was stabbed through the heart which severed the left ventricle cutting off the blood to his heart and the depth of the wound also sliced through his left lung causing it to collapse. Dr. Benjamin also said the wound to Mr. Palmieri’s neck was severe as well as his internal carotid artery was cut. Dr. Benjamin said the depth of Teo Palmieri’s injury to his throat was serious as it cut through three layers of muscle, severing his internal carotid artery and jugular.

During the interview with Barton, which was somewhat disturbing as he entered the interview room with a smile on his face. And although he said he felt "bad" about what he had done and stated he knew he would probably be spending the rest of his life in jail he indicated he felt good about his life and who he was.

Barton
Barton

Based on the information I received from Ms. Martin [Laytonville foster mother prior to Barton moving in with the Palmieris] during the interview he had grown up in a chaotic and unstable environment when he was younger eventually despising the person he had become as a teenager and young man. On that fatal night at the Palmieri’s residence he began to think about how much he hated himself, his situation, and how he could get out of the life he was living. Moreover, during the investigation, it was discovered that Barton had stated he wanted to do "violent things" and or "kill things." It was also determined he had told a friend, "I just want to kill people." But what it really came down to was, Barton "wanted to know what it felt like to die" and that is what he told detectives when they interviewed him.

Barton said it was his intention to commit suicide after he had killed the victims. It was hard for me to believe he really wanted to die but I do believe he wanted to know what it was like to watch someone die. Like most normal people who have goals in life such as going to college, getting married, having children, establishing a career, it appears Barton’s goal in life for a long time was to know what it felt like to kill someone and watch them die. So on that fatal night he killed two people, watched two others suffer as they fought for their lives and asked them "What does it feel like?" and "Does it hurt?" almost in a mocking manner.

Knowing that he had killed two people and watching two others struggle to survive, Barton eventually sat down in the living room and smoked marijuana while talking to dispatch on the phone. Eventually his hatred toward his life as well as others and the overwhelming desire to know what it would feel like to kill someone almost an obsession with death became a reality for him.

Detectives noted during their interview with Barton that he often smiled, laughed and almost displayed some sort of enjoyment in what he had done. During my interview with him, he displayed the same emotions. Barton's callous emotional display, his self-satisfied attitude and a lack of regard for the lives that he had taken is heartless. Murder by its very nature is extremely serious. In this case the victims were ferociously attacked with excessive violence and life threatening bodily harm was inflicted, displaying a high degree of cruelty and viciousness which is deserving of the years he will spend in prison. Society should be and needs to be protected from someone who is as cold hearted as Barton.

This probation officer spoke with Marcella Runnings, a juvenile probation officer at the time, who wrote the original disposition report for the court when Barton was a juvenile. Officer Runnings had written in her report about her concerns about Talon’s emotional balance and his risk of becoming a danger to others. I spoke to Officer Runnings and she said she had met with the Palmieris during a disposition report and had told them she did not think it was a good idea for them to take Barton into their home, which is somewhat ironic as Ms. Palmieri when interviewed by detectives stated Barton had told her, "You guys are really going to regret ever bringing me into your home."

On July 23, 2015 the defendant was interviewed by Donald Apostle M.D. Dr. Apostle indicated the defendant suffered from possible methamphetamine exposure in utero and a traumatic and neglectful upbringing, including sexual and physical abuse with a history of self ingestion of marijuana. Dr. Apostle described the defendant as chronically depressed. However, he did not believe the defendant was psychotic at the time of the murders and to the best degree of his medical certainty he believes the defendant was aware of the nature and quality of his actions as well as the wrongfulness. A letter written by the defendant from the jail to a friend has been attached to this report. (It is also appended below)

Probation spoke with Detective Wyant who indicated the defendant was very candid about his brutality and he felt as though he was talking to someone who was "pure evil." Detective Wyant went on to say, "I hadn't seen anything this brutal in my 17 year career. This murder was very calculated and I hope to never see him out of prison. He is an absolute monster."

Talen Barton Explains Himself

During probation’s interview with the defendant, he stated, "It was really fucked up and now I'll be in jail for the rest of my life. I deserved to be in jail for the rest of my life." The defendant indicated he was a "pussy" for not killing himself but explained he did not have enough time to do so. The defendant stated he was "pretty pissed off" at the victim (Teo) before he killed him because he was an "ass and had an uncontrollable temper, and wasn't going anywhere."

Talen Barton & Teo Palmieri
Talen Barton & Teo Palmieri

When asked how he was able to kill one grown man and severely injure another without injury to himself, the defendant stated he practiced martial arts and boxing for a couple years. When asked how he got started in martial arts, the defendant stated his guardian (Denise Shields) at the time knew he was getting "picked on" at school and wanted him to be able to defend itself. The defendant also stated, "She also knew I had anger issues."

The defendant said he knew he had to attack both men by surprise as they were both skilled in self-defense. The defendant stated Mr. Palmieri was a Brazilian martial artist in capoeira and was well versed in the art. The defendant stated, "I knew I had to catch them off guard." When asked about Mr. Norvell the defendant stated Mr. Norvell was a fencing instructor, a form of martial arts. The defendant stated, "I had to attack them by surprise so they wouldn't have a chance to defend themselves."

The defendant was asked about Denise Shields and the relationship he had with her. He stated Ms. Shields always threatened him with the possibility of foster care in order to get him to comply with her rules. The defendant stated, "I would have killed her if she would have been there.” I asked, "You would have killed her had she been at the Palmeiri house?" The defendant stated, "Oh fuck yeah. I would have -- if anyone deserved it, she did." When asked if he had anything else to add, the defendant stated, "Goodbye."

A Victim's Statement 

Probation did speak with one of the victims, Theodore Norvell, via the telephone. Mr. Norvell said he is still recovering from his injuries and was still seeing his physician. Mr. Norvell stated he is still struggling with trying to understand the defendant's motive. Mr. Norvell stated he will be writing an impact letter to the court, which will be attached to this report if received in time.

The defendant, Talen Barton, stated he has lived in Mendocino County for five years. The defendant stated he has lived in the state of California for 10 years however, he also lived in Nevada, Washington and Alaska. The defendant characterized his health as good. He stated he was not currently taking any medication and denied ever being diagnosed with any mental illnesses. The defendant stated he enjoys playing the guitar and reading.

The defendant indicated he started smoking marijuana when he was 13 years old and said he would smoke it once a week for recreational purposes. By the age of 15 the defendant explained he was smoking every day, and estimated he smoked 5-10 grams of marijuana a day. The defendant went on to say by the age of 18 he was smoking marijuana every day and estimated he was smoking a quarter of an ounce a day. The defendant stated he enjoys smoking marijuana and he indicated it was a "habit, just as cigarettes are to others." The defendant said he typically does not get "high" from smoking marijuana as he has become used to it. However, he did say he does enjoy the taste. Defendant also stated he likes smoking hash, honey oil and keif.

The defendant stated although he does not grow marijuana, it has been given to him on most occasions. The defendant said he has trimmed marijuana for others and in return had been paid and given marijuana in exchange for his services. The defendant also stated he has used LSD in the past and has used it approximately 10 times and said, "It was amazing." The defendant explained he also ingested psilocybin mushrooms at the least 15 times and stated, "It made me trip pretty hard."

TalenBartonMother’s name: April Wheatcroft. Age 39.

Father’s name: Royal Barton. Age 45.

The defendant stated his parents were never married and he was raised by his mother and stepfather (Scotty) until the age of eight and then he went into foster care. The defendant stated he went into foster care as a result of his mother and stepfather’s drug abuse. He also said his stepfather beat him with his fist and would threaten them (his older brother as well) with weapons. The defendant explained when his stepfather was under the influence of methamphetamine he would usually punch, slap and/or kick him and his brother. Defendant also stated that he was sexually abused by one of his stepfather's friends and explained it only happened one time but he chose not to elaborate on the details.

The defendant went on to say that his mother was depressed and he usually could tell when she was. He stated she would often tell him she was depressed but he often knew ahead of time, especially when she was using drugs. The defendant stated he is "still friends" with his mother. However, he has not seen her in six years. The defendant stated he talked to his mother on Facebook and she calls him at the jail. The defendant said he does not talk to his father and he last spoke to his father when he was 15.

The defendant stated he has one brother and one half brother. Defendant said he gets along with his younger half-brother but not so much with his older brother. The defendant stated, "We're not the same kind of people. I like metal, he likes rap. It's a strange relationship."

Brothers: Royal Martin Jr., 21, Concord California. Sean Epley 15, student, Washington State

The defendant indicated he was employed at Ramone's Bakery and Cafe while living in Eureka for a couple of months between 2014 and 2015. (Report prepared by the Mendocino County Probation Department)

From Dr. Donald Apostle (MD), Santa Rosa

At your request (Andy Alvarado, DA investigator), Mr. Barton was examined at the Mendocino County Jail investigative office on July 20, 2015 for purposes of psychiatric evaluation regarding diagnosis and sanity. The two-hour interview was recorded by videotape.

Prior to my examination I was informed by members of your office that Mr. Barton had a history of being sexually abused by his parents who are also drug abusers. He did graduate high school but did not attend college. He had smoked marijuana daily and was smoking marijuana at the time he called 911. He has been noted to burn himself by putting out marijuana cigarettes on his forearm. He has been into fantasy card play including Dungeons & Dragons identifying with the character "Ger" who is an assassin and kills and rapes with a sword.

He was taken in by this adoptive family at age 17 after he had been arrested by a previous foster mother for criminal threats. He loved this new foster family, describing it as the closest thing he has ever had to a family but is now charged with killing the foster father, their 17-year-old son, and stabbing the foster mother and her brother in the throat He spared the 14-year-old and 15-year-old daughters.

I was informed that Mr. Barton believes in reincarnation and they would all be together again. He did not harm himself although he had indicated that this was a murder suicide. He had mentioned that he cries each night before going to bed wondering if he should kill everyone else as well as himself. He had informed you that he disliked the son, Teo, seeing him growing up the same way, taking the same path, smoking weed, describing himself as a failure and a putz. He stabbed Teo in the neck initially and then he stabbed the adoptive mother in the neck when she came into the room, confronting him after hearing the noise. He then attacked the adoptive father, killing him. The mother and the uncle remained wounded but he asked her how it felt to die. He had the teenage girls with him in the room and cut the phone cord, but called 911 on a cell phone stating that he had just killed four people. He vacillated between being calm and agitated according to the girls.

Mr. Barton presents as a 19-year-old male who was of slight build but was willing to speak. He stated that he was not suicidal anymore but felt the need to be punished having killed two people and maybe a third on Saturday night. I initially asked him questions of orientation on a mini-mental state examination and he was oriented to time and place and could remember three words after a few minutes and could subtract serial sevens without difficulty and could spell the word World both forwards and backwards. He could identify simple objects and had a total score of 30 out of 30 on a mini-mental state examination. He showed no evidence of agnosia being able to identify geometric forms and on a modified Bender-Gestalt showed no evidence of motor-sensory incoordination. He could correctly draw a face of a clock with numbers in the correct position. He completed a simple trail-making test without any errors quickly and did the same on a more complicated trail-making test alternatively connecting numbers and letters quite well without any errors showing no evidence of confusion and demonstrating good planning and forethought.

He was born in Phoenix, Arizona on May 17, 1996 at 12:04 in the morning. His birth mother and father were not married and his mother was 18 when she delivered him. He already had an older brother who was born when the mother was 16. He reports his birth mother probably used methamphetamine while pregnant and also had a history of heroin and cocaine abuse and may not have used marijuana. He described being raised not very well. His father left the picture and random men whom he described as meth-heads showed up and ruined the life of his mother and himself.

At age 8 he moved to California where he stayed with another family friend for eight years. He was a good student at home schooling until he stopped caring about life, feeling that he didn't have much to live for. He began smoking marijuana at age 13 and currently smokes a few grams of “kief” daily which he describes as crystals from the leaf of the marijuana plant which is pure THC. He smoked marijuana daily except for about 20 days since January 1 of this year.

He also described having taken acid and mushrooms, both on three or four occasions. He denies the use of ecstasy, methamphetamine and cocaine stating that he doesn't do anything harder and prefers psychedelics which open his mind. After his first acid trip he began to believe in reincarnation even though he is agnostic and has no religious beliefs. He states since the age of 14 or 15 he would feel depressed and hold an Exacto knife for hours daily thinking about suicide. He had no friends in school, feeling nobody liked him and considered him a strange dude. He then offered that he will get punished for what he did.

At age 17 he was sent to juvenile hall after a scuffle with Denise (Laytonville foster mother, and family relation) who was taking care of him since age 8. He states he was going to kill himself at the time he got arrested. He demonstrated some of the scabs on his left forearm from putting out joints on his arm. He recalls being abused by one of his mother's boyfriends who was a gang member and beat him up physically with threats to kill him and his brother. At the mention of his brother who lives in Laytonville he began to cry and became quite tearful stating that he misses his family. He described himself as being quite lonely but had a girlfriend stating that girls do like him. He stated that all he really wanted to do was help people.

On Saturday night he was thinking of killing himself and taking people with him which was a new idea. He believed in the heat death of the universe, stating that all matter stays in the universe and then after reincarnation you could start a new life. He thought if he killed himself he would never be accepted and it would be so wrong that no one can forgive that. He stated that his foster family did love him unconditionally and became tearful because he couldn't feel it. At 17 he was the new member of the family, like a second fiddle with no guidance, feeling new to this world. He remained depressed but loved food and became obsessed with sugar which made him happy. He thought that nobody cared about him since his biological mother left and he has only seen her once since the seventh grade. He recalls that his father helped setting up metal concerts and smoked weed.

He states that marijuana helped him not to think and he has felt meaningless since age eight with thoughts of killing himself from time to time. He denies having auditory or visual hallucinations. He states he believed in a new world order describing this as extremely rich people who create the New World and the president as a figurehead. He went on to describe this as BS. He has a philosophy of life in which people can eventually create their own heaven by recycling until they get it right. He does play the guitar and write songs and is into physical exercise and boxing and tae kwon do. His music teacher died of cancer a few years ago and he became tearful thinking about that.

He has never been diagnosed with ADHD although he describes himself as being hyper at times but has never been on Adderall or in the hospital. He likes to read Stephen King and other such novels and goes on to describe this world as being boring with no one coming in. He began to believe in reincarnation after his first acid trip at age 17 when he felt connected to everything after this experience. He was in high school at that time. He did worse during his senior year because he didn't care and described his sense of apathy and not being able to feel shit.

He feels really really bad remorse stating that the murders feel senseless now. At the time, they seemed like it was only choice because he had no life and felt useless. He doesn't feel any different being off of marijuana for the past 24 hours and states he is not addicted to it, having been off of it some 20 days since January 1.

He describes themes of loneliness, being disconnected and having no one. He had an Alaskan Husky dog who was killed by one of his mother's boyfriends that he felt closer to than he did to his mother. He states he feels a sense of neglect and didn't get raised right. He has no imaginary friends going on to say that he is sane. He states he killed his best friend and hopes that he will get the electric chair and a lot of punishment.

This is his first time in jail and he keeps to himself not interacting with others. He tries to get some sleep and food is not too tasty. He described being in counseling during his teenage years but that was superficial and without any depth as a counselor just seemed to want to shoot the shit. He states he wants to call his biological mother and tell her that he killed three people and is not her son anymore. He feels he doesn't belong to anyone.

In regard to the events of the time he stated that he killed Teo by stabbing him in the throat and recalls him screaming. Stepmother Cindy came into the room and he stabbed her and then felt "Oh fuck. I didn't want to do that." However, he left her there and then stabbed his foster father and then the whole house awoke. He does recall being with teenage girls and at one point offering them cookies. He did cut the cords to phone and stated that, I killed the people I wanted to kill, describing the foster father as a useless electrician who had no license and relied on Cindy.

He describes Teo as being never happy and always bitching and that they would be better off with reincarnation. However, he identified his foster mother as a saint. He states he felt like shit going through this and that there was no emotional release. He states he was going to kill himself but was interrupted after he stabbed his foster mother who he had not intended to stab. He states he thought about killing Teo and the foster mother as part of a murder suicide pact and knew that this was the wrong thing to do. Nevertheless he gave himself permission to do so in spite of his belief in reincarnation and he admits that he is afraid of death. He felt some relief when police arrived.

Mr. Barton presents as a 19-year-old male with possible methamphetamine exposure in utero and traumatic and neglectful upbringing including sexual and physical abuse. He began to feel depressed quite young and by age 13 was smoking marijuana regularly and has continued to do so until the present. He did not do well at his Senior year in high school stating that he didn't care and at one point described himself as a pothead.

Has felt disconnected, lonely and having a lack of bonding even with the new foster family that took him in at age 17. He described the 17-year-old victim and the foster father in very negative terms and planned a murder suicide which went awry after he stabbed his foster mother. He had a belief in reincarnation after his first exposure to LSD stating that one could improve in a subsequent life.

He was not dissociated during the stabbings and showed little evidence of release. He was regretful that he had stabbed his foster mother which derailed his suicide attempt. He was not hearing voices or having command hallucinations. He was chronically depressed with a history of self ingestion of marijuana.

He indicated that he was aware of the wrongfulness of the murders and knew that murdering was wrong. He now feels a great sense of remorse and wishes for severe punishment.

Posttraumatic stress disorder can be considered with depression in Mr. Barton. He self medicated with marijuana which never really solved his problems of detachment and longing. He has expressed feelings of not being accepted or being able to feel the love of others. He was not psychotic at the time of the killings and to the best degree of medical certainty shows that he was aware of the nature and quality of his actions as well as the wrongfulness. This was a murder suicide attempt that had gone awry. Respectfully submitted, Donald Apostle MD

Letter From Talen Barton To His Friend, Griff Ollar:

Dear Griff,

Thank you for writing! I hope you are doing well as I hope everyone is doing well. I'm incredibly curious about who all returned to school and how this year is treating you.

I apologize for not having written sooner. Trust me in saying that this is the soonest I could. You ask me three questions in your letter and I'll try to answer them as best I can.

You have great faith in me when you say you don't believe I did my deeds in a sane frame of mind. I'm sorry to say I did. As unfortunate as this whole situation is it’s one caused 110% buy me, while rational. What was my motive? Truly, simply, hatred. A lot of it was due to a fermenting hatred for Teo, caused by strife and petty squabbles. More than that though, it came about due to a deep self-loathing brought about by years of mistakes and lies made mostly by me but also by others. The buildup to this took years but the events that took place directly prior to the incident are something like this:

I returned to Laytonville, incredibly dejected because I absolutely hate that tiny little town in the middle of nowhere. Cindy and Coleman are incredibly kind and let me live with them again. Rowyn's stepfather, Mike, gave me a job moving large rounds of wood across his property. This was when discord first formed between Mike and I as I was apathetic and failed to call him for more work. It was a stupid decision but I considered it to be more interesting to just smoke marijuana all day. After that it became very difficult to find a job. Coleman soon became angry with me and I was threatened with expulsion from the home. I more than deserved this.

Rowyn returned home on my birthday and I went to his house to hang out with him, Gil and Daniel. I was entirely depressed by this point. Mike made it very clear I wasn't welcome but as a favor that I didn't deserve he gave me a number of friend who gave me a job. This worked out well. I had that job up until I was put in here but soon Rowyn's family no longer liked me. They were pretty much my family and I couldn't deal with that even though I caused it.

During this time Teo annoyed me beyond belief. A lot of it had to do with smoking and once he tried to attack me so I decided not to deal with his shit anymore. But he wouldn't leave me alone. Nobody deserved what I did to them but I simply lost my patience and decided that night to remove the thing that annoyed me most: Teo. It was incredibly rash. I no longer placed any value on anything, especially life.

Everything snowballed from there into a hellish night that eventually came to your second question: Me calling 911. I hurt a lot of people who never deserved it that night. There was no rational reason for doing this. After I stabbed Teo he screamed and I knew I couldn't get away. From then on I was acting on fear. Eventually four of us sat in the same living room. Teo pleaded with me to save his sister. His daughter pleaded with me to save her dad. Cindi's daughter cried because she thought she'd last lost her whole family. I've brought so much pain to such good people. I was scared but it was my choices that had brought this on me and I had another choice to make. Nothing I did that night was right or fair but I'm proud of my last choice.

Why did I smirk? I never saw my mugshot but I tried to smile. Apparently they have lots of drugs in prison so the pot I smoked at night may not be my last. But I'm glad to be sober. I offered Teo at toke while he was bleeding for the pain. He declined.

As for my future I took a plea deal and got 71 years to life in prison. I'll have my mom keep you updated on my address if you still want to write to me.

My friendship with you was one of my favorites. I considered your family as my friends are my true family. I appreciate that you thought the same of me.

I wish you luck in everything you do. Pass my greetings to our friends if you get a chance. I'm sorry to have been a disappointment. Take care. Much love to my brother. Talen Barton

PS. Can I ask a favor of you? Can you give the other letter to Rowyn? It’s futile to apologize but I have to try.

* * *

Rowyn,

I hope you and Kelsey are well. I hope school’s going well for you too. There's no adequate way to express how I feel. I'm sorry is hollow but it's the truth. I'm getting off too easy for caving in my best friend’s family, his world. If I could change I would. I'm a fool. To have something so good and throw it away. Your friendship was the most valuable I ever had. It was all I tried to cling to. I'm sorry to have brought you this pain. Everything you ever did for me was too good. You helped me in life when I didn't even help myself. There's so much I could say. I'm truly sorry. I will be for many lifetimes. Take care. Good luck. Talen.

24 Comments

  1. Joe Hansem October 7, 2015

    Thanks so much for publishing this report, but the way this case played out in court is troubling; in fact it’s a travesty in which Mr. Barton was denied effective representation and due process of law. The entry of plea occurred a mere six weeks after the crime in which Mr. Barton accepted the maximum sentence he could have gotten, because as a practical matter no jury in Mendocino County would sentence a 19 year old to death. Honestly, there’s no way that even the prosecution discovery (police reports, forensic tests etc.) could have been fully generated in six weeks in a such a serious case, much less an adequate defense investigation have taken place, in this case one focusing primarily on Defendant’s background, drug use and mental state with an eye to a possible NGI or other defense. Honestly, misdemeanor DUI cases often take longer to be sized up, but this is a capital case! Also troubling is how, in an underhanded manner, a prosecution expert interviewed the Defendant in jail before counsel was appointed eliciting incriminating information in the process. Definitely unethical.

    It may in fact be proper for such a plea to be entered, but not on such a railroaded basis in an atmosphere of hysteria (which also raises the issue of change of venue). In an adjacent county a murderer insisted on entering such a plea out of the box, but it occurred months later after all the discovery was in and the defense attorney had had his client evaluated by four psychiatrists and fully scoped out his background. As it stands now this outcome does not inspire confidence and will surely be challenged at some point via a writ of habeas corpus on the basis of ineffective assistance of counsel who did not adequately perform her due diligence.

  2. Joe Hansem October 7, 2015

    Did Dr. Apostle give Barton his Miranda warning? Did Ms. Thompson even address this issue or do anything for that matter? We recoil in horror when such cases play out in the South but are loath to recognize it when occurs in our midst under the guise of political correctness.

  3. james marmon October 7, 2015

    I too believe that things moved way too fast without knowing exactly where everything went bad. I’m sure that there will be an appeal someday, based solely on his attorney’s incompetense.

  4. Keith Bramstedt October 7, 2015

    I recently became acquainted with the word “marginalized”.
    “Marginalize: to put or keep in a powerless or unimportant position within a society or group.”
    After reading this about Talen Barton it’s clear to me he felt marginalized as a result of his dysfunctional upbringing. Some American males are inclined to take out their frustration on others, and not just psychopaths. I once knew an otherwise rational thirty year old male, a middle class mechanic, who told me it was “better to be homicidal than suicidal.” (Both seem equally bad to me)

  5. Joe Hansem October 7, 2015

    Sure, being ripped away from your natural mother at the age of 8 could really be a set up for a lot of rage. I remember how my parents divorce affected me back in the day.

  6. BB Grace October 7, 2015

    “Railroaded”; Hmmm.

    Talon Barton is giving Mendocino County the perfect opportunity to evaluate it’s Health and Human Services Agency and network. If Mendocino County government had a soul, I would suggest this be a good time to do some soul searching because Talon Barton is a product of Mendocino County Health and Human Services departments.

    “Marginialized”; Talon Barton could be any Mendocino County Health and Human Services Agency client, which should be a wake up call rather than thinking that getting Talon Barton put away (like others), and with time, folks will forget. Sure, folks will forget. Until the next tragic event that rocks the County with shock and awe, because this isn’t an exceptional event, it’s a tragic epidemic happening nationally that needs to end.

    Talon Barton is “Everyman’s Child”, everyman in Mendocino County who paid taxes to have services that prevented the tragic homicidal event.

    Are the Palmieri’s and Talon Barton’s families and friends getting mental health help? From Ortner?

    • Royal Barton May 17, 2016

      Taken is a product of a violent childhood, and a chaotic life. As for the “everyman’s child” thing, we were in counseling for years in other counties. It did nothing for him. Your fervor towards how Mendocino felt with it is misplaced and a foolish thing to say with so little insight into what happened.

      • Royal Barton May 17, 2016

        “…with how Mendocino *dealt* with it…”

        Damn, it looks like I need an editor as badly as the person who wrote this article.

  7. Joe Hansem October 9, 2015

    Dave Eyster responded to this writer on a Willits News comment thread, but the entire discussion appears to have been taken down. Figures. Kudos to the AVA for not ducking tough issues and being a worthy First Amendment forum.

    The substance of DA Eyster’s comments was that the kid could have faced 89 to life if he hadn’t gotten death so 71 was a fair deal, but in reality a distinction without a difference, and that he disclosed all discovery to public defender. The issue here mostly is not the DA’s conduct, however, but that of the defense attorney. How could she have possibly have evaluated all that material and conducted serious negotiations in such a short period? Not possible.

    The issue that does implicate the DA is the interview with Dr. Apostle as in his report he states it was conducted on July 20th, the day after the crime at the request of DA investigator Alvarado. Competency evaluations are ordered by the court not carried out ex parte by the DA. That this could not have been ordered by the court is evidenced by the fact that his first appearance was not until July 21st when counsel was appointed. So in essence Barton was being interviewed by an agent of the DA without counsel present. So a Miranda warning was required and if charges had been filed with the clerk then, notwithstanding Miranda, counsel was required to be present per Massiah v. U.S.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massiah_v._United_States

    • BB Grace October 9, 2015

      I don’t know enough about criminal law to know exactly what you’re saying, or how to put it into perspective. Is anything going to change even if Barton was not issued a miranda warning?

      • Joe Hansem October 9, 2015

        potentially his conviction could be vacated and the case sent back for retrial which would most likely not occur, but a more deliberative process could occur that might result in a sentence of say 25 to life which would permit his release at middle age if he is rehabilitated. Just on a basic level, you would want to wait to allow things to cool down to the extent they were going to. Of course you want to jump on a “good deal” but this wasn’t it. But with the DA sending the shrink in without permission the day after the event, this railroad was leaving the station, something it was incumbent on counsel to slow down.

        • BB Grace October 9, 2015

          Thank you Joe Hansom for taking the time to explain the legal side; And also, I value your perspective and appreciate your educating me.

  8. Kim October 11, 2015

    I agree that the haste in this plea deal is negligent. He felt detached, marginalized (as aforementioned), and angry, and now he is experiencing guilt for his actions. Accepting this plea deal is just a way to turn his hate and anger towards himself, to punish himself further. I can only hope there is a chance for appeal.

  9. Kenneth October 11, 2015

    I agree this plea was arranged too quickly putting the outcome under review. This person had mental history and the bio for it. Laughing and crying and laughing again, yeah that’s a sign of stability alright. A troubled 19 year old A-student and HS grad with little or no criminal history, finds a home for two years in a friend’s place family setting then suddenly turns on that positive placement, suggests something very painfull happened between the killer and the 1st victim. From crime, to 3 DA choices, to a 71 year jail sentence with the Judge’s promise to oppose release with zero defense in less then 3 months indicates poor representation. Might as well have been a mob lynching.

  10. Joe Hansem October 12, 2015

    Thanks Kenneth, you summed it up succinctly.

    • T. McMahon November 28, 2015

      Please someone help Talen! The crimes he committed were horrible, and he deserves to be punished. People need to understand what this boy went through growing up. I helped raise Talen from age 8 through 11. The stories he told of his early childhood were to say the least alarming . He was a good boy who wanted nothing more than to be accepted. He, for the first time, played little league baseball, soccer and joined the Cub Scouts all in an attempt to gain acceptance from his peers. Everyone who Talen had touched in his life seem to really like him. I really feel that the lies told to him by my ex wife helped to create his inner turmoil. For example one he told me about while he was incarcerated at the Mendocino County Jail following this incident, was that his mother was deceased and that it would be a waste of his time trying to find her. 6 years after that they finally connected via Facebook. Wow, what psychological effect would that have on any child. The trial I feel was a joke, public defender was a joke and he was railroaded through the legal system. How dare they get a psychological evaluation without the boy even having representation. This is just a travesty of justice. Unfortunately neither myself or his biological mother have the financial means to help him to get a fair trial, & a reasonable sentence. All I can think of is to possibly talk to someone about getting a made for TV movie done on this case. Please someone step up and help this kid. The crime he committed was horrible, but at least give him decent representation to ensure a fair trial and sentence.

      • Royal Barton May 17, 2016

        T. McMahon, you need to stay out of this. You spew misinformation and have no right to be associated to this subject. And how dare you seek the media about this when you are as much of a detriment to how we were raised as the woman who kidnapped us in the first place?! Is your 15 minutes of fame that important?!?! After everything you have put this family, MY family, through, you’d do best to pull your pedophile nose out this. You disgust me.

  11. Joe Hansem November 28, 2015

    You missed it, there was no trial. That’s the point. He was provided with a form to lodge an appeal which only he can do unless he, not anyone else, decides to retain an attorney. Online records indicate that no appeal was filed, which in order to be timely must be lodged within 60 days of sentencing. So time is of the essence. If the appeal is accepted then an attorney will be appointed for him by the Court of Appeal.

  12. Jim Armstrong November 29, 2015

    I am glad there is a continuing recognition here that a serious miscarriage of justice played out in front of everyone not too long ago.
    The mention of Norm Vroman in today’s AVA brings to mind how much we lost at his passing.
    Three of the last four DAs just have not gotten it.
    The responsiblity for the railroading of Talen Barton lies with the DA and his staff, the judge, the psychiatrist and the public defender.
    Talen Barton needs a fair appeal with the representation of a competent attorney.

  13. james marmon November 29, 2015

    I hate to say it, but the reason DA Eyster jumped on this arrangement with Thompson was to protect Family and Children’s Services (formally known as CPS). A trial would have exposed the incompetency of CPS for placing a 17 year old Talen Barton in this family’s home without providing the proper assessments and services that may have prevented this terrible tragedy. CPS’s involvement in this case did not end when Talen turned 18, the agency retained jurisdiction of him as a “non-minor dependent and provided benefits to him pursuant AB12.”

    “One key point for advocates to remember is that the juvenile court may maintain juvenile court jurisdiction over a dependent of the court until he or she turns 21 years old—regardless of whether the youth is eligible for these AB12 benefits. (See Cal. Rule of Court 5.555(a)(2) and Welf. & Inst. Code 303.) Thus, the decision to keep a dependent is still up to the judge, in consultation with the young adult.”

    http://californiacasa.org/LocalPrograms/nonminor_dependents.html

    DA Eyster has made it his job to protect CPS as evidenced by his statements made to the public and Board of Supervisors as to how he saved the County from being held accountable for the death of 5 month old Baby Emerald who died at the hands of a drug addicted foster parent in Fort Bragg.

    Protecting CPS is a priority to Mr. Eyster. He also refused to investigate and charge Bryan Lowery, the current Director of Social Services, with altering official records when I reported it to him on November 20, 2011. As a result of his reluctance to do so Mr. Lowery was free to move up the ranks to the number 2 position in HHSA.

    Mr. Barton’s trial would have been a trial against the foster care system, and neither Eyster or Ms. Thompson wanted to go there. Could you imagine what it would have looked like if Thompson went after CPS as a defense regarding mitigating factors in Talen’s trial and/or the sentencing phase? It may have made a big difference. He would have been seen as a victim himself.

    Mendocino County failed this young man, the victims of this crime, and the citizens of our community. How many more Talen Barton’s are walking around out there because of the County’s decision to operate CPS without proper staffing and use unqualified under-educated social workers?

    Had I have been the social worker assigned to this case in 2013, he would have never been placed in that home without a proper psychological assessment. Especially after Barton’s probation officer warned the family about taking him into their home. He had just tried to smash his former foster mother’s head in with a 25 pound weight. That would have been enough for any competent social worker to be concerned. A couple of thousand dollars for the psych evaluation, may have just saved all these lives.

    This is just another reason for the Board of Supervisors to be embarrassed in how Family and Children Services are being conducted in Mendocino County. Corners are being cut in order to funnel money into other programs such as the failed mental health system.

    • james marmon November 29, 2015

      “California Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) section 241.1 mandates that whenever a minor appears to fit the description of a dependent of the Dependency Court and a ward of the Delinquency Court, the county probation department and the county child protective services department must prepare a joint assessment of the youth and make a recommendation to the court on which status—dependency or delinquency—shall serve the best interests of the minor and the protection of society. The court must then decide which status is appropriate since the law does not allow simultaneous jurisdiction by both systems.

      The joint assessment by both departments must include, but is not limited to, the nature of the referral, the age of the youth, the prior record of the youth’s parents for child abuse, the prior record of the youth for out-of-control or delinquent behavior, the parents’ cooperation with the youth’s school, the youth’s functioning at school, the nature of the youth’s home environment, and the records of other agencies which have been involved with the youth and his or her family.”

      http://cjjr.georgetown.edu/wp content/uploads/2014/12/Winter09_CrossoverPartII1.pdf

        • james marmon November 29, 2015

          “This probation officer spoke with Marcella Runnings, a juvenile probation officer at the time, who wrote the original disposition report for the court when Barton was a juvenile. Officer Runnings had written in her report about her concerns about Talon’s emotional balance and his risk of becoming a danger to others. I spoke to Officer Runnings and she said she had met with the Palmieris during a disposition report and had told them she did not think it was a good idea for them to take Barton into their home….”

          Proof that CPS took jurisdiction of Talen, the probation officer would have never written this if they had taken final jurisdiction. It could be considered an admission of guilt if they went against their own findings and placed him in that home anyway. Furthermore, it appears that their was more than one Dispositional report. The probation officer also used the word “original” which means that there was more than one in the Juvenile Court System. CPS had to have written the subsequent Dispo.

          James Marmon, MSW

  14. Anonymous August 3, 2016

    I rarely browse the Internet for information about this case but after reading all of the information and comments on this page I want to say this: Coleman Palmieri was one of my best friends. The rapid movement towards a plea bargain may have been questionable to some observers and I do feel sorry for Talen but I’m quite certain he deserved what he got. I do not believe there is any significant likelihood that he can be rehabilitated and I’m glad that he is going to spend the rest of his life in prison. If by any chance the judgment is vacated and a new trial is ordered, I’m sure that he would agree to the same plea-bargain again. Further, a trial would be devastating for the community in general and for the Palmeri family in particular.

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