Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
October 2, 2008
Susan Kang Schroeder
OPENING STATEMENTS TO BEGIN IN DEATH
PENALTY TRIAL OF MAN CHARGED
MURDER-FOR-PROFIT KILLING OF
NEWPORT BEACH COUPLE ON THEIR YACHT
SANTA ANA – Opening statements begin Tuesday in the death penalty trial of Skylar Deleon 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, is charged with felonies for 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. The District Attorney is seeking the death penalty in this case. Opening statements are scheduled to begin Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2008, at 9:00 a.m. 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 begin 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 Oct. 31, 2008, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-5, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
In November of 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, 26, who changed his name from John Jacobson Jr., his wife Jennifer Deleon, 24, Alonso Machain, 22, Myron Gardner Sr., 33, and John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 40, are accused of participating in the murder of the Hawks’ to take their boat and life savings.
On Nov. 9, 2004, Skylar Deleon is accused of plotting with his then-pregnant wife, Jennifer Deleon, to gain the Hawks’ trust by taking Jennifer Deleon and her 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, Machain, and Kennedy are accused of taking 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 are accused of overpowering the victims, forcing them to sign the transfer of title documents, handcuffing and tying them to the anchor, and drowning them in the ocean. Skylar and Jennifer Deleon are accused of being in constant cell phone communication while the murder plot was being executed.