Aunt Pleads Guilty to Murdering Niece and Nephew, Disposing of Bodies in Storage Locker

A California woman has pleaded guilty to murdering her niece and nephew and then disposing their bodies in a storage locker.

On Wednesday, Feb.28, Tami Joy Huntsman, 42, pleaded guilty to first-degree premeditated murder and torture in the 2015 murders of Shaun Tara, 6, and Delylah Tara, 3, as part of a deal with prosecutors, according to the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office. According to the plea deal, Huntsman, who was originally facing the death penalty, will serve consecutive life sentences with no possibility of parole, CBS News reports.

“Tami Huntsman pled guilty to all charges. She's going to die in prison. There will be no further appeals, no further litigation. And we were able to save the children in this case from having to testify in two separate (trials)," Assistant District Attorney Berkeley Brannon said outside the courtroom. “Justice was done.”

In 2015, Huntsman and her teenage boyfriend Gonzalo Curiel, were arrested following an investigation into the near-fatal beating of the victims’ 9-year-old sister, who had been discovered by police in Plumas County in the backseat of an SUV shivering and suffering from broken bones.

According to court records, the girl told authorities that Huntsman and Curiel severely neglected and abused the siblings after they moved into the couple’s apartment following the death of their mother. She also claimed that her younger siblings had been killed on Thanksgiving 2015 after she had been caught stealing a bagel.

A police investigation into the abuse of the girl’s claims led authorities to a storage unit in Redding, California, where they found the dead bodies of two children stuffed in a plastic bin.

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Huntsman and Curiel were later charged with two counts of murder, three counts of torture, one count of child abuse and two counts of conspiracy. Huntsman pleaded not guilty to the charges prior to accepting the plea deal.

Curiel, who was 17 at the time of the crime and therefore not eligible for the death penalty, has pleaded not guilty to the charges. His trial is scheduled for April 2.