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Elderly Woman Found Dead

A 76-year-old woman was found dead in her backyard by her son in Stockton.

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Two state senators want to know why San Joaquin County let a registered sex offender out early from jail — who then allegedly raped and murdered his own grandmother last week.

In a letter to Sheriff Steve Moore and presiding Judge David Warner, senators Loni Hancock and Cathleen Galgiani address “recent incidents involving parolees,” causing more risks to the public’s safety.

The letter called the murder of Rachael Russell “allegedly committed by a parolee who was repeatedly given early release from jail,” highlighting the need to investigate the basis for early releases from local custody

Since last year, the alleged killer — Jerome Deavila — was arrested a dozen times. The prosecutor said Deavila was recently sentenced to jail for 30 days for failing to register as a sex offender, but was released by county jail after only one day.

In a letter written Tuesday night, Sheriff’s spokesman Les Garcia responds, saying:

“The San Joaquin County Jail currently operates under a Court Order…addressing the jail’s overcrowded inmate population. Over the years there have been several amendments to the Court Order… which compounded jail over crowding, and resulted in the early releases of parole violators booked in the jail on technical violations.”

The senators also point out that San Joaquin County has received $80 million in state funds for jail expansion. But “with the exception of one other county,” construction is underway except for San Joaquin County.


Jerome Deavila was in court Thursday for the alleged rape and murder of his grandmother, but prosecutors say he should not have been on the streets when it happened.

The reason he was out, the DA says possibly from overcrowding in jails.

Prosecutors said Deavila, a registered sex offender, plead guilty on Feb. 19 for not registering.

“He was given a 30-day sentence and he was released the next day,” Prosecutor Sherri Adams

In the last year, Deavila had been in and out of custody possibly up to 11 times for violating parole.

“It is very frustrating when we set a sentence and it can’t be kept due to overcrowding,” said Adams.

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Jerome Deavila during a February 28 court appearance.

Deavila allegedly raped, murdered and stole from his grandmother, 76-year-old Rachael Russel.

Russel was known for being active in her church and helping her community.

Deavila’s family wasn’t in court Thursday.

He will be back in court next week where he will be appointed a doctor to see if he is competent to withstand trial.


Jerome Sydney Deavila entered a Stockton courtroom with his eyes avoiding cameras, his head down, and his responses to the judge were uncooperative.

“Do you understand you have the right to be represented by a lawyer?” asked Judge Franklin Stephens.

“No,” replied Deavila

Deavila was charged with the alleged rape, murder and robbery of his grandmother, 76-year-old Rachael Russel.

He was also charged with theft of am elderly person and resisting arrest.

Despite staring at his charges on court documents and hearing them aloud when asked if understood, Deavila said no again.

Russel was murdered on Saturday.

Her son, Stephen Russel, found her body three days later, wrapped in a bag in a wheelbarrow outside her home.

“She was everything to me. She was my mother. I am the youngest,” said Russel.

Deavila’s attorney requested he be evaluated by a doctor for competency.

That will prolong the process of going to trial.


Steven Russel and his wife went by his mother’s home early Tuesday to check on her, but what they found was devastating.

Russel’s mother, 76-year-old Rachael Russel, was found dead in a bag inside a wheelbarrow in her backyard.

“We found her in the backyard. To find your mother like that, I am still numb. I just don’t believe it,” said Russel.

Police arrested 39-year-old Jerome Deavila for Russel’s murder.

Family members tell us that Deavila is Russel’s grandson.

Russel said his mother had a strong faith in God and was an active member at her church.

“She was a Sunday School teacher, mother of the church. She was everything to me. She was my mother. I am the youngest,” said Russel.

Russel last spoke to his mother on Friday and thinks she may have died on Saturday.

Deavila is also a registered sex offender, according to the Megan’s Law website.

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Scene of the investigation.


A 76-year-old woman was found dead in her S Golden Gate Avenue and E Marsh Street backyard early Tuesday afternoon. Police are calling the death suspicious.

The woman was found by her 44-year-old son, who reported to police that he had not seen his mother since Friday.

Police say that the woman’s car was missing.

More information to come; keep checking for any updates.