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3 former Marines could get death in couple's slaying

Jun. 5, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
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RIVERSIDE, CALIF. — Riverside County jurors on Wednesday convicted three former Camp Pendleton Marines of murdering a fellow serviceman and his wife in execution-style killings, making all three eligible for the death penalty.

Kevin Cox, 25, was found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder in the 2008 deaths of Sgt. Jan Pietrzak and his wife, Quiana Jenkins-Pietrzak, in their Winchester home, the Riverside County district attorney’s office said in a statement.

A separate jury returned guilty verdicts on the same counts for two other former Marines, Emrys John, 23, and Tyrone Miller, 25.

Prosecutor Daniel DeLimon said the three led double lives as “Marines by day, criminals by night.”

The men went to Pietrzak’s home to rob him and physically assaulted him and sexually assaulted his wife before killing the couple, prosecutors said. Pietrzak and his wife were found bound and shot in the head.

For all three men, jurors found special circumstances of murder during commission of a robbery and burglary, and multiple murders, the district attorney’s office said. An enhancement of rape by instrument was found for Miller alone.

During the trial, Miller apologized for his involvement but maintained he never ordered the shooting of the couple as prosecutors alleged.

“I feel beyond bad,” Miller said. “It was a mistake that spiraled out of control.”

The same two juries will now decide whether the three men will get the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole. They’ll hear arguments from attorneys in the trial’s penalty phase starting Monday.

A fourth former Marine, Kesaun Sykes, is awaiting a separate trial in the case.

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