Slain Marine, Wife Had Strong San Diego Ties

4 Marines held in slaying

New details are revealed about a Marine Sergeant and his wife who police say were allegedly tortured and murdered by four Camp Pendleton Marines.

Pvt. Kevin Darnell Cox, 20, of Tennessee; Pvt. Emrys John, 18, of Maryland; Lance Cpl. Tyrone Miller, 20, of North Carolina; and Pvt. Kesuan Sykes, 21, from Fallbrook face murder charges in connection with the case.  The four were charged Tuesday with the execution-style slayings of Marine Sgt. Jan Pawek Pietrzak  and Quiana Faye Jenkins-Pietrzak.

The couple were found gagged, tied and shot in the head on Oct. 15 in the living room of their home in Winchester. Sheriff's deputies were called after the sergeant failed to show up for work at Miramar Marine Corps Air Station.

Relatives of the victims said the wife was from San Bernardino and a 2005 graduate of San Diego State University.  The couple met in San Diego through a mutual friend who also attended SDSU.  She was studying to become a doctor.  Pietrzak served in Iraq and returned to San Diego in 2006 and was from Brooklyn.  He was born in Poland.

The couple married on Aug. 8, 2008.

Court records indicated the four Marines acknowledged they had roles in the robbery, sexual assault and murder last month.  After their arrests, 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, said he tied up the couple and discussed with John whether to kill them, according to the court document.  The other two Marines acknowledged they went to the home to rob Pietrzak. All four said his wife was sexually assaulted, although each said it was the other three who committed the attack, 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 property believed stolen from the house was found at Sykes's 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.
Investigators said they believe the motive was financial in nature.
Pietrzak's mother, Henryka Pietrzak-Varga, prepared herself the possibility that her son could die in Iraq, but, in her words, "to die like this, in their own home? They were good kids. They didn't deserve to die like this."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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