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UPDATED: 1 Life Sentence, 1 Death Penalty For Former Marines in Murder of French Valley Newlyweds

Kevin Darnell Cox was sentenced to life without parole; Emrys Justin John was sentenced to death, in the slayings of 24-year-old Janek Pietrzak and his 26-year-old wife, Quiana Faye Jenkins-Pietrzak. A fourth defendant still awaits trial.

Twenty-four-year-old Janek Pietrzak and his 26-year-old wife, Quiana Faye Jenkins-Pietrzak, were murdered in their French Valley home. Credit: Maggie Avants
Twenty-four-year-old Janek Pietrzak and his 26-year-old wife, Quiana Faye Jenkins-Pietrzak, were murdered in their French Valley home. Credit: Maggie Avants

Updated at 3:35 p.m. Aug. 16:

Two former Marines who took part in the killing of a Marine sergeant and his bride during a home-invasion robbery at the couple's French Valley home were sentenced today, one to death and the other to a no- parole life prison term.

The triggerman, Emrys Justin John, 23, and 25-year-old Kevin Darnell Cox were convicted with another man for Oct. 15, 2008, slayings of 24-year-old Janek Pietrzak and his 26-year-old wife, Quiana Faye Jenkins-Pietrzak. John was sentenced to death and Cox to two consecutive life terms.

Last month, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Christian Thierbach imposed capital punishment on 25-year-old Tyrone Lloyd Miller.

Cox continued to profess his innocence during the sentencing hearing today.

"Even after I got arrested ... I didn't think I'd be here today. I still don't think I should be. Remorse and regret are different things," he said.

Cox apologized "for what happened", but said he doesn't feel he "did anything to be here for it."

Glenda Faye Jenkins, Jenkins-Pietrzak's mother, said that "the love I have for her was always in my heart before he was born and still continues to be in my heart. It will always be in my heart for the rest of my life."

Miller, Cox and John were convicted June 5 of first-degree murder and special circumstance allegations that multiple lives were taken in the same crime and that the killings occurred in the course of a robbery and a burglary. Jurors also convicted Miller of sexual assault.

A fellow Camp Pendleton Marine, 25-year-old Kesaun Kedron Sykes, is expected to be tried on the same charges before year's end.

According to Deputy District Attorney Dan DeLimon, the four Marines wanted to get inside the Pietrzaks' two-story house on Bermuda Avenue in French Valley to steal their belongings, and to indulge in a power trip.

"This was about ... taking pleasure in the sexual humiliation of a woman and tormenting her husband by making him watch," DeLimon said.

Miller testified that he was displeased with Pietrzak because he had told him only a day or two earlier that his chances of being promoted to corporal were nil.

The defendants later told sheriff's investigators that they were mainly interested in the "stuff" they might be able steal from the victims, who had received numerous gifts at their wedding just two months earlier.

The three defendants, armed with shotguns, forced their way into the home and beat Pietrzak into submission, authorities said.

The victims were bound and gagged and thrown face-down on a sofa. After spending 90 minutes ransacking the house and hauling stolen goods to a vehicle parked outside, Miller and Sykes stripped Quiana and used a vibrator to violate her sexually, according to the prosecution. John shot the couple execution- style with a 9mm handgun.

The victims had been married 68 days.

—City News Service

LBV Collins August 16, 2013 at 04:41 PM
Every time I see the picture of this young couple on their wedding day it just breaks my heart that their lives were needlessly, senselessly cut short. There is no punishment terrible enough, painful enough, to right this horrific wrong. My sympathies to this young couple's family and friends.
Steve Newman August 16, 2013 at 05:32 PM
3 hots and a cot for the rest of his sorry life- if he did this in any other state but the peoples republic, he would be fried. Or at least put in the desert to fry. "I don't know why I am here" - we don't either. If there is a God he/or she, just played a cruel joke on all of us. Hopefully justice will be served-cold.
SA August 16, 2013 at 06:04 PM
They should have been executed on site.
Mary Hutto August 16, 2013 at 08:16 PM
It was a hate crime and the only special circumstances that should be allowed here are the ones that would give these evil men the death penalty. Not the kind of death penalty that allows them another ten years or do die of natural causes like Richard Ramirez.
Sherry August 16, 2013 at 09:09 PM
This was and still is disgusting. I was thinking about this..if I saw someone at my neighbors going in and out taking items to their car parked out front, but never saw the 2 people who lived there participating in any manner..I would have been highly suspicious and called the police to at least check it out. As neighbors , maybe all of us should be a little more observant and at least ask the police to do a ride by. My sympathies again to the family and friends of this couple.
Beach mom August 17, 2013 at 01:13 AM
Rot in Hell
Cat Burke August 17, 2013 at 10:52 AM
To the Mothers and Fathers, Sisters and Brothers, all the family and friends of these two beautiful children - we too are experiencing this "New Life, After Murder"... We understand your horror, pain, and loss. We are so sorry this has happened in all your lives, as we know going on with the empty gaping hole of their loss is a most impossible task. You have received the one small victory we so NEED - we DEMAND - for ourselves... EQUAL JUSTICE to the Murderer, in receiving the Death Penalty. We are most humbly sorry the Murderer gave you all - this New Life... The Burkes
Robert Paul Williamson August 18, 2013 at 10:19 AM
Where do the USMC recruit men such as these? They must have had a criminal record or been in trouble prior to enlisting, since they had no moral compass whatsoever.
SA August 19, 2013 at 12:53 PM
Mr. Williamson, you would be surprised I was robbed at gunpoint for my weapon while standing pier sentry why? Because the thugs knew we were not allowed to chamber our weapons (thank you liberals) … we could not even bluff …
Steve Newman August 19, 2013 at 02:08 PM
SA- did you get the sight for your glock in Costa Mesa.? Pretty crowed in the afternoon, long lines for ammo, of course. Thank you DHS.


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