Four Camp Pendleton Marines accused of murdering a sergeant and his wife at their French Valley home—prompting the District Attorney to seek the death penalty—will stand trial next year.
Kevin Darnell Cox, 24, Emrys John, 22, Tyrone Miller, 24 and Kesaun Kedron Sykes, 25, were all ordered back to court Jan. 28 in Riverside, according to court records.
The four appeared in court today at near Murrieta for a trial readiness conference, which was pushed back to Oct. 26.
They are being held at the county jail on no bail.
The trial has been delayed for close to a year because one of the defendants— who also had to be examined to determine mental competency—had changed attorneys.
They face special allegations of committing murder during a robbery and committing more than one murder.
They also face a single count each of rape by instrument.
John additionally faces firearm and great bodily injury allegations.
The victims, Marine Sgt. Janek Pietrzak, 24, and his wife, Quiana Faye Jenkins-Pietrzak, 26, were found Oct. 15, 2008 in the family room of their home in the 31000 block of Bermuda Avenue.
The sergeant was wearing Sponge Bob Square Pants boxers when he was found, according to testimony at the 2009 preliminary hearing.
The couple had lived at the French Valley home for about four months.
Sheriff's homicide Lt. John Schultz said at the time that the murders
were believed to be motivated by financial gain.
Investigators found parts of the home ransacked and evidence that someone had tried to light a fire, apparently to destroy evidence.
Search warrants served at Camp Pendleton barracks and other homes yielded
evidence linking all four suspects to the murders.
A girlfriend of one of the suspects was found with earrings that belonged to the slain woman, a detective testified.
The suspects provided confessions of their individual involvement in the slayings, authorities said.
Pietrzak, originally from Brooklyn, was part of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing at the base near Oceanside and served in Iraq from July 2005 to February 2006.
At the time of his death, he was working as a helicopter mainframe mechanic with the Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron.
Mike Alvarez, spokesman for the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, to which the suspects and victim were attached, said Cox and Miller also worked in the sergeant's squadron, and John worked in the same aircraft group as Pietrzak, Cox and Miller.
According to pre-trial testimony, the Marines stripped the sergeant's wife in front of him, forced her to dance and sexually assaulted her, reportedly hoping the husband would say where the couple kept its cash and valuables.
Sykes in 2011 was examined because of an incident in which he stood up during a hearing, urinated in his hand and flung it around the courtroom saying he was banishing unseen demons.
He was examined by two psychiatrists and eventually
But he then retained a new attorney and last September, the trial was pushed back for at least six months.
It has been 10 months since the trial was delayed.