Madera faith leaders want community to unite after fatal stabbings


Two pastors on Thursday drove past the home where Madera Police say three women were stabbed by a relative who was under a drug-induced psychosis just the day before. The pair wanted to pay their respects to the family and hope the community can come together for them.

Police identified Deijon Walker, 24, as the suspect. News media were initially told the spelling of his name was Dejone on Wednesday, but police corrected the spelling Thursday.

The victims have been identified as Betty Terrell, 66, Tonya Terrell, 51, and Jazmine Miller, who is said to be in her 20s. Betty and Tonya — who are Walker’s great aunt and aunt respectively — died from their injuries at Madera Community Hospital. Miller is said to be in stable condition at Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno.

After hearing about the horrific violence, pastors Sammie Neely and Charles Fryer decided to go see the home for themselves.

“Let them know that we’re there,” said Sammie Neely, pastor at Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church. “Our prayers go out to the family.”

Police say Walker had been in a drug-induced psychosis for several days before attacking his relatives. Fryer, who is the senior pastor at Hull Avenue Church of God in Christ, said he’s not surprised drugs were involved.

“I knew it had to have something to do with a controlled substance. These types of behaviors manifest themselves when individuals are outside of the realm of who they really are,” he said.

The pastors hope in the coming days that their church communities — and the town as a whole — can come together for this family.

Fryer also hopes this can be a learning lesson for other families.

“There are other people, I’m sure, that have family members that are having problems in life now,” he said. “Take a look at those situations now and try to get these people some help.”

Walker was taken into custody after trying to flee the home with one of his relative’s cars. He was taken to the hospital first and, once he was released, was booked into the Madera County Jail.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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