FIRST DEFENDANT FACES TRIAL FOR MURDER-FOR-PROFIT PLOT FOR KILLING HUSBAND AND WIFE IN NEWPORT BEACH

OCDASeal

Orange County District Attorney
Press Release


Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701

For Immediate Release
October 27, 2006

Contact:

Susan Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
(714) 347-8408 Office
(714) 292-2718 Cell

FIRST DEFENDANT FACES TRIAL FOR
MURDER-FOR-PROFIT PLOT
FOR KILLING HUSBAND AND WIFE IN NEWPORT BEACH

*Jennifer Deleon’s trial has been severed from Skylar Deleon and John Kennedy 

SANTA ANA – The trial of Jennifer Deleon, 24, Long Beach, is scheduled to begin next week for the murder of Thomas and Jackie Hawks.  Jennifer Deleon is the first of three co-defendants to be tried and is charged with two counts of murder with allegations for committing multiple murders for financial gain.  If convicted, she faces a possible sentence of 15 years to life in prison. 

The Honorable Judge Frank Fasel granted a motion today to sever Jennifer Deleon’s trial from that of her husband, Skylar Deleon, 26, and John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 40, both of Long Beach.  The Orange County District Attorney is seeking the death penalty on Skylar Deleon and Kennedy.  Motions are scheduled to begin Monday, October 30th, 2006, and Opening statements are expected to begin Monday, November 6, 2006 at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-35, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana. 

In November 2004, Thomas and Jackie Hawks placed an advertisement for their 55-foot boat named “Well Deserved” for $440,000.  They wanted to spend more time with their new grandchild in Arizona.  Jennifer Deleon, Skylar Deleon, Kennedy, Alonso Machain,  22, Pico Rivera, and Myron Gardner Sr., 33, Long Beach, are accused of participating in the murder of the Hawks to take their boat and life savings. 

Skylar Deleon and Machain are accused of staking out the boat and the victims on November 6th.  Jennifer Deleon is accused of gaining the trust of the Hawks by bringing her 9-month old baby to meet the Hawks on November 9th.  Gardner is accused of recruiting Kennedy, a well documented, hard-core, Los Angeles gang member.  On November 15th, Skylar Deleon, Machain, and Kennedy are accused of taking the boat out of the harbor, overpowering the Hawks, forcing them to sign the transfer of title documents, handcuffing and tying them to the anchor, and drowning them. 

Skylar and Jennifer Deleon are accused of cleaning the boat with bleach and destroying evidence and personal items belonging to the Hawks.  They are accused of getting papers signed by the Hawks’ notarized with backdates.  The Deleons are accused of trying to take money out of the Hawks bank account in Arizona and placing it in a bank account in Mexico.  The Deleons and Machain are accused of trying to create evidence the Hawks were moving to Mexico after they were murdered. 

On January 16, 2005, Skylar Deleon was arrested while he was trying to leave for Mexico.  Machain was arrested on March 2, 2005, Gardner was arrested the next day, Kennedy was arrested a week later, and Jennifer Deleon was arrested on April 8, 2005.  Skylar Deleon was charged with a “Strike” from a 2003 residential burglary case.  Kennedy was charged with a “Strike” from a 1988 attempted murder case.  During the preliminary examination held in 2005, defendant Jennifer Deleon laughed during the hearing while the grieving Hawks family watched. 

###