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Deleon to wait for his fate

Sentencing for man convicted of killing Newport Beach couple is moved to April 10. He faces death penalty.

March 20, 2009|By Joseph Serna

The sentencing for a man who killed a Newport Beach couple out at sea and another man in the Mexican desert was pushed back to next month so the family of his victims could be there, prosecutors said Friday.

Skylar Deleon, the headline-grabbing father of two from Long Beach whose bizarre behavior leading up to his trial and odd interviews since his conviction has kept the public fascinated, faces a possible death sentence April 10. He’ll appear before Orange County Superior Court Judge Frank Fasel in his ninth floor courtroom in Santa Ana’s Central Justice Center, where late last year a jury recommended the ultimate punishment for Deleon after they convicted him of orchestrating an elaborate plot to rob, then kill Tom and Jackie Hawks aboard their boat, Well Deserved, in November 2004.

Deleon was also convicted of slashing Jon Jarvi’s throat in the Mexican desert just days after Christmas in 2003 and stealing $50,000. Deleon is accused of trying to hire a convict to kill the only witness with him that day, his cousin Michael Lewis. Lewis testified he left the area before Deleon killed Jarvi.

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Prosecutors have painted Deleon as a sociopath who would burn through money with his then-wife, Jennifer Henderson, before finding another victim, killing them and stealing their money.

Henderson was sentenced to life without parole. Another convicted accomplice, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, is scheduled to be sentenced Friday. A jury earlier this year recommended he also received the death penalty for his role in the Hawkses slayings. Deleon brought Kennedy into the plan as the muscle to help subdue the couple while they were out at sea.

Two more men are awaiting trial on charges they were also involved in the plot. Alonso Machain, who’s testified in all three trials thus far, is expected to strike a plea deal with prosecutors to avoid death. Myron Gardner, a friend of Kennedy’s from Long Beach, is charged with murder for his alleged role in helping put Deleon and Kennedy together.

Deleon will likely sit through statements from his victims’ families before the judge hands down his sentence.


Reporter JOSEPH SERNA may be reached at (714) 966-4619 or at joseph.serna@latimes.com.

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