|For Immediate Release
Case # 05HF0372
November 6, 2008
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
JURY RECOMMENDS DEATH PENALTY FOR MAN CONVICTED OF MURDER-FOR-PROFIT KILLING OF NEWPORT BEACH COUPLE ON THEIR YACHT
SANTA ANA – A jury has recommended that Skylar Deleon receive the death penalty for the murder-for-profit killings of Thomas and Jackie Hawks on their yacht off Newport Beach in 2004 and John Jarvi on the road to Ensenada, Mexico in 2003. Skylar Deleon, 29, Long Beach, was found guilty by a jury on Oct. 20, 2008, of three counts of special circumstances murder for multiple murders and murder for financial gain. He has a prior strike for a 2003 residential burglary conviction. He is scheduled to be formally sentenced Jan. 16, 2009, in Department C-35, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
Skylar Deleon’s ex-wife, Jennifer Deleon, 27, Long Beach, was found guilty by a jury on Nov. 17, 2006, of two 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. Co-defendant John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 43, Long Beach, is charged with felonies for two counts of special circumstances murder for committing multiple murders for financial gain. He has a prior strike for a 1988 attempted murder conviction. The District Attorney is seeking the death penalty in this case. Kennedy is scheduled to stand trial Jan. 5, 2009, in Department C-35, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
Co-defendants Myron Gardner, 45, Long Beach, and Alonso Machain, 25, Pico Rivera, are charged with felonies for two counts of special circumstances murder for committing multiple murders for financial gain. If convicted, they face a maximum sentence of life without the possibility of parole. Gardner and Machain are scheduled for pre-trial Jan. 23, 2009, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-58, 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. 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 wife Jennifer Deleon.
On Nov. 9, 2004, Skylar Deleon plotted with his then-pregnant wife, Jennifer Deleon, to gain the Hawks’ trust by taking Jennifer Deleon and their 9-month-old baby to meet the Hawks on their boat, which Skylar Deleon and Machain had staked out three days prior. Gardner is accused of recruiting Kennedy, a hard-core, documented Los Angeles gang member, to provide “muscle.”
On Nov. 15, 2004, Skylar Deleon, with the help of Machain and Kennedy, took the boat out of the harbor with the Hawks under the pretense of test driving it for a possible sale. Once out at sea, they overpowered the victims, forced them to sign the transfer of title documents, handcuffed and tied them to the anchor, and drowned them in the ocean. Skylar and Jennifer Deleon were in constant cell phone communication while the murder plot was being executed.
During the guilt phase Machain testified that while tied to the anchor of their yacht, Jackie Hawks was begging for her life as Thomas stroked her hand to comfort her. When forced to sign yacht ownership papers over to the Deleons’, Jackie Hawks intentionally misspelled her own name by leaving off an “S” in hopes that someone would notice that something was wrong with the documents.
Skylar and Jennifer Deleon cleaned the boat with bleach wipes and destroyed evidence and personal items.