MOWER COUNTY, Minn. (KMSP) - Last August, Jonathan Talemantes and an associate calmly walk into the vestibule area at the Mower County jail around 8:30 p.m. Surveillance video shows Talemantes looking through the kiosk of an inmate database. Moments later, he sees his girlfriend walk in then viciously attacks her and leaves.
After a few moments, he comes back to help her, starts to clean up the blood, and leaves again. All of this happened in about four minutes, and not a single security guard came out to help.
Mower County Sheriff Terese Amazi said there is only one staff member assigned to watch everything that happens on 132 cameras and that they are trained to focus primarily on the inmates, especially when they are out of their cell blocks.
Amazi said the challenge for her staff is that images that are beamed back to master control from the area where this assault happened holds for only 4 seconds, then shows other parts of the building. The shot then comes back online 45 seconds later and repeats the process.
“Certainly we have some camera upgrades that are in the process, and our system will be changing,” Sheriff Amazi told Fox 9. “There probably should have been a better response, I assume.”
Mower County board chair Mike Ankeny said he'll consider any request for security upgrades.
“Everyone is working with what they have, and it seems to get tighter and tighter all the time,” Ankeny said.
Amazi said because this is the first incident to happen in the four and a half year history of this facility and budgets are tight, requests for more staff would likely not happen. Amazi did say that cameras can only do so much to prevent assaults.
“Mr. Telemantes is still responsible for that assault,” Amazi said.
Authorities eventually found Telemantes and arrested him one week later. He was tried and convicted on this assault charge and is currently sitting behind bars.