Jurors recommend death for two of three Marines convicted of killing couple

RIVERSIDE – Jurors recommended the death penalty today for two Marines — and life in prison for a third — for the murders of a sergeant and his wife during a home-invasion robbery in French Valley.

On their second day of deliberations in the penalty trial of Emrys Justin John, 23, and Tyrone Lloyd Miller, 25, an eight-man, four-woman jury decided both should receive capital punishment for the Oct. 15, 2008, slayings of 24-year-old Janek Pietrzak and his 26-year-old wife, Quiana Faye Jenkins- Pietrzak.

A separate eight-woman, four-man jury recommended a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for Kevin Darnell Cox, 25.

Miller is slated to be sentenced first, on July 19, while Cox and John are expected to be sentenced on Aug. 16.

”We were hoping and praying to see something in their faces, some sign of remorse, but there’s nothing,” Henryka Varga, Janek’s mother, told City News Service outside the courtroom. ”They’re still laughing and telling jokes.”

Varga and Quiana’s mother, Glenda Faye Jenkins, along with Jenkins’ three brothers, waited to thank members of John’s and Miller’s jury, several of whom broke down in tears as they embraced the victims’ family members.

”I don’t celebrate holidays anymore because of this. What’s happy about holidays?” Glenda Jenkins told CNS.

Her youngest brother, Kevin Williams, said the loss of his niece haunts him every day.

”Why her? What did she do to deserve this? She was a role model,” Williams said. ”I could deal with the fact that she got shot. But what these individuals did inside that home — it was barbaric. Not just criminal — barbaric.”

Varga said what happened to her son and Quiana ”was the worst thing imaginable.”

”You feel guilty when you laugh about anything after this,” she told CNS tearfully. ”It’s real. It’s not a terrible dream. I’ll never hear my son’s voice again.”

”They not only took our children’s lives; they took their dignity,” Jenkins said. ”My daughter was lying there, tied up, crying and crying. She had to know what was coming. But it was all a game to these killers.”

Both women criticized the Marine Corps for recruiting the defendants, whom Varga referred to as ”gang members.”

”Shame on the military,” she said.

Both she and Jenkins sought help from their congressional representatives to force the Marine Corps and other branches to make background screenings and entry standards tougher in the wake of the slayings. But the effort ran into a dead end.

”We got no help from the Marines,” Jenkins said. ”They treated us like dirt.”

The defendants 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.

The men’s penalty trials got underway last week, with Cox’s finishing first. Jurors returned with a verdict in less than two days. But Riverside County Superior Court Judge Christian Thierbach ordered the finding sealed until jurors in John’s and Miller’s penalty trial returned with verdicts. It took that jury one day to reach a decision on punishment.

Another Camp Pendleton-based Marine, 25-year-old Kesaun Kedron Sykes, is slated to be tried in August.

According to Deputy District Attorney Dan DeLimon, the four Marines wanted to get inside the Pietrzaks’ two-story French Valley house at 31319 Bermuda Ave. to steal their belongings — but also 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.

Cox rang the doorbell twice shortly after 1 a.m., and Pietrzak came downstairs, deactivated his house alarm and opened the front door. The defendants, armed with shotguns, beat the young sergeant into submission, DeLimon alleged.

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 they found in the couple’s bathroom to violate her sexually. John shot the couple execution-style with a 9mm handgun.

”Why couldn’t they have waited one day to break in?” Jenkins asked. ”Quiana and Janek were both going be out of town the next day.”

She said her daughter was completing a master’s degree in public health administration.

The couple had been married 68 days.

The defendants and Pietrzak served in a helicopter maintenance squadron at Camp Pendleton.

18 Responses to "Jurors recommend death for two of three Marines convicted of killing couple"

  1. Death Penalty too good   June 20, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    These guys are heartless animals, a slow death is in order! Maybe a steam roller?

    Reply
  2. MC   June 20, 2013 at 11:27 pm

    Thats what happens in return for serving your country men and women.

    Reply
  3. Proud Marine   June 21, 2013 at 9:04 am

    The Marine Corps found a "few bad men" when these guys got in. Sometimes evil slips through the cracks. The Corps didn’t make these men evil they were born that way. Remember the man they killed was a good man and a Marine.

    Reply
  4. Me   June 21, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    Death penalty? In California? That’s a good one.

    Reply
  5. California Justice is a joke   June 22, 2013 at 7:57 am

    Me is absolutely correct. These guys will cost us millions of dollars and get much better treatment than the average prisoner. Probably better treatment than the average working slob. The third guy is probably disappointed that he didn’t get death. The death penalty is definitely way too good.

    The only reason this case isn’t national news, AKA Trayvon, is because it doesn’t fit their agenda for "Change in America". If the murder’s had been white, this would have been huge.

    Reply
  6. kma   June 22, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    Jury got it right! These animals should NEVER walk among us again! NEVER! And Proud Marine – have you checked out the crime by marines in the last 15 yrs or so?!! More than a few bad apples are slipping thru the cracks! It has everything to do w/the state of our country…low wage jobs and no jobs…the courts giving young male criminals the choice of jail or military service…and there you go.

    Reply
  7. Amy Jade   June 22, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    The Marine Corp didn’t make these guys into murders, their poor upbringing did. I can only imagine the kinds of families they came from. Take a look at their names and you take a guess. Get a clue people.

    Reply
  8. comment 6 is right   June 22, 2013 at 11:45 pm

    I totally agree with comment 6. And Proud Marine- I am sure you are a decent person/good role model for the Marine Corps. However- the military does treat civilian victims and their families like crap. They cover up most of the crimes committed by military personnel. The rare occasion that law enforcement authorities take over jurisdiction, the military is uncooperative or hides evidence. There is a lot of domestic violence crimes committed by Marines. The Marine Corps rarely imposes any sentences/consequences for domestic violence occurring on base- it’s a joke. I have been a victim of crimes committed by Marines, as well as several friends of mine. We were all treated like dirt by the military who were supposedly in charge of the investigations. I feel that most Marines are good people. But there are quite a few that are not. Crime and punishment should be the same for everyone- whether you are a Marine or civilian.

    Reply
  9. MC   June 23, 2013 at 1:40 am

    PTSD!

    Reply
  10. Seriously   June 23, 2013 at 10:18 am

    @comment #9

    BS!

    Reply
  11. @ 10   June 23, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    Agreed.

    Reply
  12. @ 9   June 24, 2013 at 1:34 am

    Agreed.

    Reply
  13. Preston   June 24, 2013 at 7:38 am

    @ 4 – Me and 5 – California Justice is a joke,
    Who is responsible for the system we have?
    @ 10 – Seriously,
    Agreed.

    Reply
  14. Benjamin Franknuts   June 24, 2013 at 11:36 pm

    @ MC agreed

    Reply
  15. Preston   June 25, 2013 at 7:35 am

    @ comment 9,12 and 14
    Could you please explain how PTSD could cause anyone to do the sick demented acts these guys committed. I recommend you Google the term, read up on the signs and symptoms of PTSD and compare to the reasons these people had for sexually abusing and then killing this couple.

    Reply
  16. Proud Marine   June 25, 2013 at 10:04 am

    It wasn’t PTSD. That is ridiculous. That is like crying racism when it isn’t or sexism when it isn’t. Don’t you think that their defense attorneys would have jumped on that as a cause if it would have stood up in court? They are BAD men. They did an EVIL thing. Stop trying to rationalize something that simply isn’t rational. Try using some common sense.

    Reply
  17. @ Preston and Proud Marine   June 25, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    Couldn’t agree more, sick that those with true PTSD have a hard time admitting it and then these scum have people think they have PTSD.. Then again, maybe MC was stating what SOME do, use PTSD as a way out of the Marine Corps etc….I know there are true cases of PTSD, and I also know that there are those who will take advantage of that problem and claim it for themselves when they really don’t have it. That’s wrong, and so is thinking these skuzballs have anything to do with PTSD rather than just sickos.

    Reply
  18. marta   June 28, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    Can I just say what a relief to find someone who actually knows what theyre talking about on the internet. You definitely know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people need to read this and understand this side of the story. I cant believe youre not more popular because you definitely have the gift.

    -marta

    Reply

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