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Angel Eyes

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Since then, several more shaken-baby and child-abuse cases have made headlines in Colorado. A hearing was held recently to determine what kind of testimony will be admissible when Joseph Dowler stands trial November 10 on first-degree-murder charges for allegedly shaking his eight-week-old son, Tanner, to death. Laura Trujillo was convicted in September of child abuse resulting in injury for failing to protect her two-year-old daughter from being beaten to death by her boyfriend. Samuel Renner was charged with child abuse resulting in death for allegedly shaking Davey Crespin, a seven-month-old he was babysitting. Demetrius White Sr. was recently charged with child abuse resulting in death for allegedly beating his three-month-old son, Demetrius Jr. And Rebekah Amaya is facing two counts of first-degree murder in the drowning deaths of her two children, five-month-old Gabriel and four-year-old Grace.

Caleena's supporters hope that in Justin's case, justice will be served. But Patrice worries that he'll plead to a lesser charge, something she's seen happen many times in her two decades of law enforcement. "He'll probably get his hands slapped, go to anger management, pay a fine and do probation," she says.

While DA spokesman Knight says a plea bargain is always a possibility, he "can't envision a scenario where he'd plead to something with no jail time."


Caleena says she can't concern herself with what happens to Justin. She needs to focus on herself right now.

Three days after Jasmine died, Caleena went back to the condo she and Justin had shared. She was planning to stay with a friend and needed to get her things, but she couldn't get in because Janice McIntosh had already changed the locks. She was eventually able to get her stuff before Justin's parents rented the apartment, but then they sold the car she'd been driving. It was in Justin's name, but Caleena had made $1,500 in car payments while he was unemployed. And because questions had been raised about her fitness as a mother after the Kempe Children's Center examined Alyssa, social workers placed the toddler with Caleena's mom. In a matter of days, Caleena had lost everything: her house, her car and her kids. And she was only twenty years old.

Soon she felt like she was losing her mind, too. She couldn't go to a grocery store without breaking down when she saw a baby, and she got fired from her waitressing job at the Greeley Country Club because of her emotional outbursts. "I must have looked like a crazy person crying," she says. Her mental state didn't make her a very good roommate, either, and she bounced from friend's house to friend's house. Half the time, her parents didn't even know where she was.

Just before her nineteenth birthday and before she met Justin, she had been trying to clean up her life. She was thinking about volunteering at a treatment center for youth offenders. But after Jasmine died, she found herself reverting to her old ways. Broke, Caleena forged Justin's name on a withdrawal slip and left a bank drive-through with $1,100 from his checking account. And later, when she was pulled over for speeding, she presented a driver's license that she'd borrowed from a friend (hers had been revoked because of prior traffic offenses). She paid the ticket, but after she and her friend got into a fight, the friend turned her in for impersonation.

"I kind of did a 180 after this happened," Caleena admits. "This has totally destroyed my life. I don't think I'll ever be the same again.

"To sleep next to someone for almost a year and not know they're even remotely capable of something like this..." she says, pausing. "I have a hard time giving anyone the benefit of the doubt anymore, and I'm constantly afraid that something bad is going to happen."

A few weeks ago, she went out in Denver for the first time in three months. A friend of hers wanted to go to LoDo's Bar & Grill, the place where she first met Justin. She was reluctant to go back, but finally agreed. Not two minutes after she entered the bar, she saw him. Caleena couldn't believe her eyes: Justin was talking to two women. "I walked up to him, grabbed his shirt and shouted, ŒDo you know who this guy is?' He made a beeline for the door. Everyone was shocked; I looked like a lunatic," Caleena says. She chased him for five blocks, spraying Mace in his direction, stopping only when she saw a police officer. Justin walked quickly away while saying, "I don't know who you are." It was the only time she'd seen Justin outside of court since his arrest.

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Julie Jargon
Contact: Julie Jargon