RIVERSIDE – A death sentence was handed down today for a Marine lance corporal who helped kill a sergeant and sexually assaulted and killed the man’s bride of two months during a home invasion robbery at the couple’s French Valley residence.
Tyrone Lloyd Miller, 25, was convicted last month, along with two co-defendants, of the Oct. 15, 2008, slayings of 24-year-old Janek Pietrzak and his 26-year-old wife, Quiana Faye Jenkins-Pietrzak.
Riverside County Superior Court Judge Christian Thierbach upheld the eight-man, four-woman jury’s recommendation that Miller be sent to death row.
”This individual has no soul,” said Henryka Varga, mother of Janek Pietrzak, during the sentencing hearing. ”He savagely murdered our beautiful children. He killed me, as well.”
”I want them back. I want my life back,” said Varga, a native of Poland. ”I used to think I was living the American dream. But I am living the American nightmare.”
Varga told the judge that Miller had taken everything from her son and his bride — the possibility of living a long life together, finishing their education, excelling in their respective fields, having children, even dying with dignity.
”Death is supposed to be sacred. It’s very important. He robbed them of that, too,” she said.
Varga and Jenkins-Pietrzak’s mother both told the court that they relive their children’s last moments every day.
”My lights went out when I lost my only child,” Glenda Faye Jenkins said tearfully. ”She was a little angel. I am a human body that’s a shell now. I walk and talk with an empty heart. I keep thinking, ‘What was Quiana’s crime?’ She and Janek didn’t deserve to die like this — put down like wounded animals. Now they’re buried in the ground with no food, no water. The ones who did this should experience the same thing.”
Sentencing is scheduled Aug. 19 for Miller’s co-defendants, 25-year-old Kevin Darnell Cox and 23-year-old Emrys Justin John. Jurors have recommended life in prison without parole for Cox and death for John.
The trial of another co-defendant and fellow Camp Pendleton-based Marine, 25-year-old Kesaun Kedron Sykes, is expected to get underway soon after.
Miller, Cox and John were convicted June 5 of first-degree murder, and jurors found true special circumstance allegations of multiple murders 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 concluded less than two weeks later.
According to Deputy District Attorney Dan DeLimon, the four Marines wanted to get inside the Pietrzaks’ two-story 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.
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.
Cox rang the doorbell twice shortly after 1 a.m., and Pietrzak came downstairs, deactivated his house alarm and opened the front door. The three defendants, armed with shotguns, beat the young sergeant into submission.
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 violated her sexually, according to the prosecution. John shot the couple execution-style with a 9mm handgun.
The couple had been married 68 days.
Quiana was completing a master’s degree in public health administration. Janek was considering applying for Marine Corps officer candidate school or pursuing a graduate degree in business.
”’My goals for the next four years: Read 10 books a year, learn to sail, improve my vocabulary, stop swearing and excel at everything I do,”’ Varga said, reading from a list of objectives her son had disclosed to her in a letter sent in March 2008.
”He also wanted to own a house, provide well for his wife and begin raising a family,” she said. ”He would have accomplished this.”
The defendants and Pietrzak served in a helicopter maintenance squadron at Camp Pendleton.