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Skylar Deleon gets death sentence in Newport Beach yacht murders

April 10, 2009 | 12:14 pm

Deleon A Long Beach man was sentenced to death today for lashing Thomas and Jackie Hawks to the anchor of a yacht and throwing them overboard off the coast of Newport Beach in a plot to steal the vessel and plunder the couple’s life savings.

Skylar Deleon showed little reaction as Orange County Superior Court Judge Frank Fasel explained that mitigating factors -- including any abuse Deleon suffered while growing up -- were outweighed by the “horrors” of the 2004 murders of the Hawkses and the earlier 2003 slaying of John Peter Jarvi in a Mexican desert.

Deleon was convicted of all three murders.

“The mental anguish and torment these three people must have anticipated while bound and eventually experiencing their ultimate fates warrants the death penalty instead of life without parole,” Fasel said in his packed courtroom.

A jury has also recommended death for John Fitzgerald Kennedy, a 43-year-old Long Beach gang member convicted of helping Deleon throw the Hawkses off their 55-foot yacht, named the “Well-Deserved.”

Deleon’s ex-wife, Jennifer Deleon, was found guilty by a jury in 2006 of murder and sentenced to life in prison in connection with the yacht murders.

Another man on board the boat when the couple was killed, Alonso Machain, cooperated with the government and awaits trial.

-- Christine Hanley

Photo: Los Angeles Times