Did Four Marines Murder One of Their Own for Money or Something Else?

Mother of victim can't believe money was motive for her son's murder and rape of her daughter-in-law

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Authorities say four Marines murdered Sgt. Jan Pietrzak and his wife Quiana Jenkins-Pietrzak because of money. The slain Marine's mother is not so sure.

    The four Marines who brutally killed and tortured a fellow leatherneck and raped his wife in a home invasion robbery did it for the money, according to California authorities.

    But to the slain Marine's mother, that motive doesn't' completely add up.

    "I can't believe it's about money," Henryka Pietrzak-Varga, of Brooklyn, told the Daily News, speaking of the execution-style slayings of her son Sgt. Jan Pietrzak, 24, and her daughter-in-law Quiana Jenkins-Pietrzak, 26.

    The newly married couple were found gagged, tied and shot in the head on Oct. 15 in the living room of their home in Winchester, Calif.  Two of the men accused were under the command of the slain sergeant.

    The four Marines, including one known as "Psycho," told investigators they robbed and murdered their fellow Marine and his wife last month after breaking into their Riverside County home in search of valuables and sexually assaulting the woman, according to court documents.

    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, who was a helicopter airframe mechanic at Miramar Marine Corps Air Station in San Diego.

    Miller told a sheriff's investigator that he forced his way into the home by pointing a shotgun at Pietrzak, according to an affidavit from a sheriff's investigator. Miller said he and the others went to Pietrzak's home to rob him, and they tied up the couple and discussed with John whether to kill them.

    Cox and Sykes, known as "Psycho," acknowledged they went to the home to rob Pietrzak. All four said his wife was sexually assaulted, the affidavit said.

    The document also said shoes found at the barracks where Cox and John lived matched prints left at the crime scene, and items believed stolen from the house was found at Sykes' home.

    The men were each charged with two counts of first-degree murder and special-circumstance allegations of committing multiple murders, committing the crime during a robbery, and rape by instrument, district attorney's spokesman Ryan Hightower said Thursday.

    John, whom prosecutors believe shot the couple, also was charged with a special-circumstance allegation of using a firearm to inflict great bodily injury or death.

    Prosecutors had not decided whether to seek the death penalty.

    "Marines are supposed to be brothers," Pietrzak's mother told The Riverside Press-Enterprise earlier in the week. "What kind of brothers are these? They killed them in cold blood."

    Sykes, who lives in the Fallbrook area in San Diego County, was arrested on Sunday. The other three Marines lived at the Camp Pendleton base and were held there until they were transferred to a Riverside County jail on Wednesday.

    All were being held without bail Thursday. Their arraignment was postponed until Nov. 20.

    Pietrzak, who was born in Poland and raised in the Bensonhurst area of Brooklyn, joined the Marines in 2003 and served in Iraq from July 2005 to February 2006.

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