Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
June 15, 2009
Susan Kang Schroeder
FIFTH AND FINAL CO-DEFENDANT SENTENCED TO 20 YEARS IN PRISON FOR MURDER-FOR-PROFIT KILLING OF COUPLE ON THEIR NEWPORT BEACH YACHT
SANTA ANA – A former city jail guard was sentenced today to 20 years and four months in state prison for his involvement in the murder-for-profit killings of Thomas and Jackie Hawks on their yacht off Newport Beach in 2004. Alonso Machain, 25, Pico Rivera, pleaded guilty to two felony counts of voluntary manslaughter, two felony counts of kidnapping, and two felony counts of robbery. During the death penalty trials of two co-defendants in this case, Machain gave truthful and detailed testimony regarding the murders.
Machain has expressed remorse for his involvement in the crime and wanted to atone for his actions. Machain’s testimony provided key facts otherwise unavailable to the trial, especially against Jennifer Deleon. Furthermore, Machain’s detailed testimony provided the jury with the full depiction of the depravity and callousness of how Kennedy and Skylar Deleon carried out the murders and behaved after the murders. Without Machain’s testimony, law enforcement may not have known about the existence of Kennedy.
Skylar Deleon, 29, Long Beach, was sentenced to the death penalty on April 10, 2009. He was found guilty by a jury on Oct. 20, 2008, of three felony counts of special circumstances murder for multiple murders and murder for financial gain. He has a prior strike for a 2003 residential burglary conviction. A jury recommended the death penalty for Skylar Deleon on Nov. 6, 2008.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 43, Long Beach, was sentenced to the death penalty on May 1, 2009. He was convicted by a jury on Feb. 19, 2009, of two felony counts of special circumstances murder for committing multiple murders for financial gain. The jury recommended the death penalty for Kennedy on Feb. 27, 2009.
Skylar Deleon’s ex-wife, Jennifer Deleon, 27, Long Beach, was found guilty by a jury on Nov. 17, 2006, of two felony counts of murder with sentencing enhancement allegations for committing multiple murders for financial gain. She was sentenced Oct. 5, 2007, to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Myron Gardner, 46, Long Beach, who had spent four years in jail awaiting trial on this case and provided truthful testimony during Kennedy’s trial as to what happened, pleaded guilty March 19, 2009, to one felony count of accessory after the fact and was sentenced to one year in jail. He received credit for time served. Gardner introduced Kennedy, who he knew was a hardcore gang member, to Skylar Deleon. He mistakenly believed that Skylar Deleon needed Kennedy to commit a drug crime. Gardner testified that Kennedy admitted to throwing three people overboard.
In November 2004, Thomas and Jackie Hawks placed an advertisement for their 55-foot yacht named “Well Deserved” for $440,000. The couple wanted to spend more time with their new grandchild in Arizona. Skylar Deleon, who changed his name from John Jacobson Jr., was the brain behind the plot to murder the Hawks’ and take their boat and life savings with Machain, Gardner, Kennedy, and his then-wife Jennifer Deleon.