Preliminary hearing expected to conclude for four Marines accused of killing Marine sergeant and his wife

Staff Writer

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009.
Issue 33, Volume 13.

MURRIETA - A preliminary hearing is expected to conclude tomorrow for four Camp Pendleton-based Marines accused of killing a Marine sergeant and his wife, who was also sexually assaulted.

The on-and-off hearing, which has stretched over four days since April, will determine whether the defendants are bound over for trial for the murders of Sgt. Janek Pietrzak, 24, and his 26-year-old wife, Quiana Faye Jenkins-Pietrzak.

The District Attorney's Office has indicated it plans to seek the death penalty in the event that it wins convictions against Kevin Darnell Cox, 21, Kesaun Kedron Sykes, 22, Tyrone Miller, 21, and Emrys John, 19.

The defendants face special circumstance allegations of committing multiple murders and murder committed in the course of robbery and rape.

The victims were found bound and gagged -- both had been shot in the head -- last Oct. 15 at their Winchester home.

Investigators with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and sheriff's department said they found jewelry belonging to the couple in Syke's Fallbrook apartment and Miller's barracks.

Former Marine Justin Weissinger, who has pleaded guilty to an unrelated burglary charge, testified that Miller and John told him they had been involved in the murders and sexual assault.

Weissinger also testified that he accidentally shot Miller one night after the murders, when the men were in a vehicle together. He saidt he was carrying a gun at the time because he was nervous over what the men had told him regarding the slayings.