Homicide investigated at Porterville Developmental Center

FRESNO, Calif.

The Porterville Police Department said they responded to a report of a homicide at the Porterville Developmental Center around 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday. When they arrived, they said the suspect, 25-year-old Sheila Allen, had already been detained by the Office of Protective Services.

Investigators said the Allen strangled a 36-year-old woman to death with a power cord to a DVD player that was in her room.

Police said staff members and medical personnel responded to the scene and attempted CPR to revive the victim. However, the victim was eventually pronounced dead by a doctor on the scene.

Allen and the victim were both clients of the Porterville Developmental Center and were housed in the same building where the incident occurred. Investigators said they believe the attack was not provoked by the victim.

The State Department of Developmental service, which runs the mental health facility, only released this written statement to Action News:

"On December 17 2013 there was a death of a Porterville Developmental Center resident. The Porterville Police Department is conducting an investigation."

The state-funded facility has been the site of several controversial incidents including one back in 2010, when an employee was arrested for manslaughter. Then, Porterville police say John Fleming was negligent when he left 62-year-old Barbara Hawkins improperly restrained in a wheelchair. She was found dead hours later, alone and slumped in her chair.

Allen was arrested for the murder and booked into the custody of the Tulare County Sheriff's Department. The name of the victim is not being released. This case remains under investigation.

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