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11-04-08, 05:54 AM #1
4 Marines arrested in killing of sergeant, wife
4 Marines arrested in killing of sergeant, wife
The Associated Press
Posted : Monday Nov 3, 2008 22:15:01 EST
RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Four Marines have been arrested for the fatal shootings of a Marine sergeant and his wife in their Riverside County home last month.
The sheriff’s office said Monday that the Camp Pendleton-based Marines ransacked the Winchester home and likely killed the couple for financial gain.
Sheriff’s deputies discovered the bodies of Jan Pietrzak and his wife Quianna Jenkins-Pietrzak on Oct. 15 after receiving a call from the Marine Corps because the sergeant had not shown up for work.
The suspects include Pvt. Emrys John, Lance Cpl. Tyrone Miller, Pvt. Kevin Darnell Cox and Pvt. Kesuan Sykes.
The sheriff’s office says the district attorney’s office has agreed to file murder charges.
11-05-08, 04:40 AM #2
Marines accused in slaying of couple in Winchester
10:00 PM PST on Tuesday, November 4, 2008
By TAMMY J. McCOY
Heartbroken and enraged, mothers of the slain Winchester couple found bound, gagged and shot to death inside their home are struggling to understand what happened to their children.
The parents of Marine Sgt. Jan Pietrzak, 24, and his wife Quiana Jenkins Pietrzak, 26, were in tears when they heard that four Camp Pendleton-based Marines are suspected in the slayings.
"Marines are supposed to be brothers," said Jan's mother, Henryka Pietrzak-Varga. "What kind of brothers are these? They killed them in cold blood."
Riverside County sheriff's investigators announced Monday that four Marines "provided confessions" and the motive behind the slayings "appears to be financial gain," according to a department news release.
The Pietrzak's were found bound and gagged inside their Bermuda Street home on Oct. 15 by Riverside County sheriff's deputies who went to the home after he failed to show up for work at Camp Pendleton, according to sheriff's news release. Both suffered gunshot wounds to the head, authorities have said.
They did not wear expensive jewelry or give appearance they were wealthy, the mothers said. They worked hard for what they had and lived a middle-class lifestyle, the women said.
"They were not flashy," said Faye Jenkins, Quiana's mother. "They gave more than they received."
In custody at Camp Pendleton are: Lance Cpl. Emrys John, 18, an airframes mechanic, Lance Cpl. Tyrone Miller, 20, an airframes mechanic, and Pvt. Kevin Darnell Cox, 20, an aircraft communication-navigation electrical systems technician, according to Mike Alvarez, spokesman for the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force.
John and Miller were assigned to the same unit as Pietrzak, according to Alvarez.
The three men in custody at the base are expected to be released to Riverside County authorities this week, he said.
One of the four Marines in question, Lance Cpl. Kesaun K. Sykes, 21, a clerk, was arrested Sunday on suspicion of sexual assault, according to Riverside County jail records. Investigators declined to provide any additional information to protect the ongoing investigation, said spokeswoman Herlinda Valenzuela.
Quiana's mother was terrified by the idea of her daughter being sexually violated.
"She was a good girl," said Faye Jenkins, tears filling her voice. "She did not do anything. It doesn't make sense. I don't understand."
Pietrzak was a native of Poland who moved to New York when he was 10. He was a helicopter airframe mechanic who was deployed to Iraq. Quiana grew up in the San Bernardino-Ontario area. She worked for the Riverside County Public Health's Black Infant Care Center in Perris.
Reach Tammy J. McCoy at 951-375-3729 or tmccoy@PE.com
11-05-08, 04:42 AM #3
REGION: More details emerge in slayings of local Marine, wife
By JOHN HALL - Staff Writer
FRENCH VALLEY ---- More details are emerging about the execution-style slaying of a Marine sergeant and his wife inside their French Valley home last month, allegedly by four Camp Pendleton-based Marines.
Jan Pawek Pietrzak, 24, and his 26-year-old wife, Quiana Faye Jenkins-Pietrzak, were found shot to death in the family room of their home in the 31000 block of Bermuda Street on the morning of Oct. 15.
"This was a very heinous act," Riverside County sheriff's homicide Lt. John Schultz said Tuesday.
Investigators believe the four Marines ---- two of whom worked for Sgt. Jan Pietrzak ---- targeted the couple to rob them.
Parts of the two-story home had been ransacked and belongings were stolen from the Pietrzaks, authorities said.
"We know that numerous items of jewelry, for example, were taken," Schultz said.
Investigators have recovered what they believe to be stolen merchandise from the four detained Marines, including jewelry, he said.
"Now, it is just a matter of determining where those items came from," the lieutenant said.
Investigators also are looking into whether the four detained Marines are connected to several burglaries and at least one home-invasion robbery in North San Diego County, Schultz said.
The Pietrzaks, who had just married in August, were each bound, gagged and shot at least twice in the head by their killers, Schultz said.
The Pietrzaks were an interracial couple and Schultz said investigators first looked at the possibility this may have been a race-related hate crime. But, he said Tuesday, that motive was quickly put aside.
"There doesn't appear to be any overtones of race being involved in this," Schultz said. "It appears the intent was to go there and rob them."
All four men detained in connection with the deaths are black, authorities said.
Homicide investigators are not saying specifically what weapon was used to kill the Pietrzaks, but several weapons were found during searches related to the four men who are being held in connection with the slayings.
"We presume we have the weapon that was used but are awaiting ballistics tests," Schultz said.
Investigators also are not yet saying who among the four fired the fatal shots.
"But we've got a pretty good idea who it was," the lieutenant said, adding that both victims appear to have been killed with the same gun.
The robbery and slayings happened sometime between 1 and 2 a.m. Oct. 15, Schultz said, and there was no damage to the home to indicate any doors or windows had been forced open.
"It's possible that someone (who Jan Pietzrak) knew came to the door and he opened it," Schultz said, which could explain how the men would have been able to get inside.
All four men were assigned to the I Marine Expeditionary Force, military officials said.
Two of the detained Marines, Lance Cpl. Emrys John, 18, and Tyrone Miller, 20, worked directly for Jan Pietrzak, Schultz said. According to the Marine Corps, John and Miller worked as airframe mechanics.
John, Miller and a third Marine, Pvt. Kevin Cox, 20, an aircraft electrical systems technician, are being held in the brig at Camp Pendleton.
Those three lived on the base and are being detained there, awaiting release into the custody of Riverside County authorities, Schultz said.
The transfer to Riverside County, at which time they will be booked at a county jail, could happen sometime Wednesday, a Marine Corps spokesman said Tuesday afternoon.
The fourth man, Lance Cpl. Kesaun Sykes, 21, who worked as an administrative clerk, lived in the Fallbrook area and was arrested and booked at Southwest Detention Center in French Valley, authorities said.
Sykes is scheduled to be arraigned today at Southwest Justice Center.
Sykes was booked on suspicion of two counts of murder, use of a firearm during a felony, home-invasion robbery and sexual penetration with a foreign object, jail records state.
Schultz said that once the other three men are in custody in Riverside County, they will be booked on the same charges.
The sexual assault allegation stems from evidence found at the slaying scene.
"There was evidence that (Jenkins-Pietrzak) may have been sexually abused ...," Schultz said.
Investigators have said numerous items of evidence were found at the crime scene, much of which has been or is being tested for fingerprints and DNA.
Schultz said investigators believe all four men wore gloves and masks during the crime, adding that some masks were recovered during searches.
Homicide detectives worked closely with Naval Criminal Investigative Service investigators while trying to find who killed the Pietrzaks, the lieutenant said.
"Most of the interviews were done on base and they were of great assistance," Schultz said.
It was a series of interviews that ultimately led homicide investigators to the four Marines, he said.
"That got us to the first two," Schultz said, those being Miller and John, "and then to the final two suspects."
Jan Pietrzak was assigned to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing at Miramar Marine Corps Air Station, military officials said last month.
Pietrzak was a helicopter airframe mechanic who enlisted in March 2003, according to Marine Corps officials. He was a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., and was deployed in Iraq from July 2005 to February 2006, officials said.
Jenkins-Pietrzak worked for the last year and a half as a health education assistant, the deputy director of the Riverside County Department of Public Health said last month. She worked in the department's black infant health program, an outreach to pregnant and parenting black women, officials said.
According to military records, none of the four detained men have been deployed since joining the Marine Corps.
Cox, originally from Tennessee, has the most time of the four, having joined the Marines in December 2005, according to military records.
Sykes, from California, joined in April 2006; Miller, from North Carolina, joined in December 2006; and John, from Maryland, joined in August 2007.
Contact staff writer John Hall at (951) 676-4315, Ext. 2628, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
11-05-08, 02:34 PM #4
Marines charged with killing couple in Winchester
12:27 PM PST on Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Prosecutors filed charges today that make four Camp Pendleton-based Marines eligible for the death penalty in connection with the slaying of a Winchester Marine and his wife.
All four were charged with two counts of murder for the shooting-deaths of Sgt. Jan Pietrzak and his wife, Quiana Jenkins-Pietrzak, at their Winchester home. They were also charged with the special circumstances of multiple murders and murder committed during a robbery-burglary.
The men were also charged enhancements of sexually assaulting Jenkins-Pietrzak.
Lance Corporal Emrys John, 18, believed to be the trigger man, is also charged with a gun use allegation.
John and Lance Corporal Tyrone Miller, 20, worked in the same unit as Sgt. Pietzrak, according to Mike Alvarez, spokesman for the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force.
Private Kevin Darnell Cox, 20, and Lance Cpl. Kesaun K. Sykes, 21, were assigned elsewhere.
The couple, who were shot in the head, their bodies bound and gagged inside their Bermuda Street home, was discovered on Oct. 15 by Riverside County sheriff's deputies who went to the home after Sgt. Pietrzak failed to show up for work at Camp Pendleton, according to sheriff's news release.
According to court records, one of the Marines told authorities they got inside the home when he held a shotgun to the man's head.
Miller said he and three other Marines went to the home to rob Pietzrak and he held a gun to Pietzrak's head when the four arrived at the home, according to court records.
Miller said he and John talked about killing the couple and, Miller said, John did the shooting, according to the court records.
Shoe prints from the crime scene matched shoes found in Cox and John's barracks, according to the court records. Property belonging to the Pietrzaks was found in Sykes' home and he admitted taking things from the Bermuda Street house, the court records say.
11-06-08, 07:18 AM #5
Brooklyn Marine sergeant & wife tortured, slain in Calif.; 4 of his men are arrested
BY CORKY SIEMASZKO
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Wednesday, November 5th 2008, 11:56 PM
A Brooklyn-raised Marine sergeant and his new bride were tortured and killed execution-style in their California home - allegedly by four other Marines under his command.
Sgt. Jan Pawel Pietrzak, who was raised in Bensonhurst, and his wife, Quiana, were found bound and gagged in the ransacked house, each shot in the head.
Pietrzak was the suspects' sergeant at Camp Pendleton, Quiana's mother said Wednesday.
"They're monsters," Faye Jenkins told the Daily News. "They're monsters."
Pietrzak's mother, Henryka Pietrzak-Varga, said she had prepared herself "for the possibility that my son could die in Iraq."
"But to die like this, in their own home?" she told The News. "They were good kids. They didn't deserve to die like this."
Investigators said the motive for murder was "financial gain." Neither mother believes that.
"When I found out what they did to them, it was like they killed me, too," Pietrzak-Varga said.
A spokesman for the Riverside County district attorney's office would not comment on reports that Pietrzak was killed by his own men.
Detectives also did not divulge what the accused Marines were looking for, but the suspects were tied to the crime by items found in their homes and on the military base.
Born in Poland, Pietrzak was 10 when he moved to the U.S. and enlisted after the 9/11 attacks. He was named Jan Pawel, which means John Paul, after the Polish pontiff.
A mechanic who worked on helicopters, Pietrzak, 24, met his wife three years ago at a party for Marines being deployed to Iraq.
Quiana Jenkins-Pietrzak, 26, who worked for the county's Black Infant Care Center, was reluctant to date a Marine. But Pietrzak wooed her, and they were married in August.
"They were in love," her mother-in-law said. "It didn't matter to them that they had different skin colors."
The bride wore her favorite white Converse sneakers, and she was still in the process of writing thank-you cards when she was killed.
"She was our only child and my best friend," Faye Jenkins said. "He was like my son. He was so proud to be a Marine. But when he was off the base, he was my son."
The Pietrzaks were not rich and purchased their five-bedroom home in May through a foreclosure, said Waldemar Piasecki, a New York-based Polish journalist and family friend. He used his reenlistment bonus to replace the hardwood floor and carpet.
"They were hardworking young people," Piasecki said.
On Oct. 15, deputies were dispatched to the Pietrzak home in Winchester, an exurb of San Diego, when the Marine did not show up for work.
When they arrived, the deputies found the Pietrzaks in the living room and evidence that the robbers had tried to cover their tracks by torching the house.
Charged with murder and other crimes are Pvt. Embrys John, 18, of Maryland; Lance Cpl. Tyrone Miller, 20, of North Carolina; Pvt. Kevin Darnell Cox, 20, of Tennessee, and Pvt. Kesuan Sykes, 21, of California.
Lawyers for the men could not be reached for comment.
Pietrzak's mother said she can't understand how Marines could have committed such a crime.
"Don't the Marines screen out people like this?" she said. "Didn't they know they had murderers under their roof?"
11-07-08, 07:27 AM #6
Four Marines admit to roles in murder, records say
The Monterey County Herald
Article Last Updated: 11/07/2008 01:49:57 AM PST
Four Marines charged
Four Marines acknowledged they had roles in the robbery, sexual assault and murder of an Iraq veteran and his wife last month in Riverside County, court records indicate.
The four were charged Wednesday with the execution-style slayings of Marine Sgt. Jan Pawek Pietrzak, 24, and Quiana Faye Jenkins-Pietrzak, 26.
The couple were found gagged, tied and shot in the head Oct. 15 at their home in Winchester, authorities said.
Murder charges were filed against Lance Cpl. Emrys John, 18, of Maryland; Lance Cpl. Tyrone Miller, 20, of North Carolina; Pvt. Kevin Cox, 20, of Tennessee; and Lance Cpl. Kesaun Sykes, 21, of California.
John and Miller worked for Pietrzak, a helicopter airframe mechanic at Miramar Marine Corps Air Station in San Diego.
Miller told a sheriff's investigator he and the others went to Pietrzak's home to rob him. He said he tied up the couple and discussed with John whether to kill them, according to the court document. Prosecutors believe John shot the couple.
The other two Marines acknowledged they went to the home to rob Pietrzak. All four said his wife was sexually assaulted, though none claims responsibility.
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