RIVERSIDE – Closing statements are scheduled tomorrow in the penalty trial of a man who joined three cohorts in killing a Marine sergeant and his wife at their French Valley home.
Kesaun Kedron Sykes, 27, was convicted Aug. 5 of the 2008 murders of 26- year-old Quiana Faye Jenkins-Pietrzak and her husband, 24-year-old Janek Pietrzak.
The same Riverside Superior Court jury has since been hearing evidence that it will use to decide whether to recommend that Sykes receive capital punishment or life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Testimony in the penalty trial concluded today. Riverside County Superior Court Judge Christian Thierbach scheduled closing arguments for 9 a.m. Wednesday.
Among the witnesses summoned by the defense was Sykes’ mother, Charlene Patterson of Modesto, who testified last week that her son was a good student and athlete. She acknowledged that he and his four brothers and sisters experienced some turmoil growing up, and that she lost custody of them for about two years before the family was reunited.
Sykes had no criminal history prior to joining the Marine Corps in 2006.
Last year, three members of Janek Pietrzak’s helicopter maintenance squadron at Camp Pendleton — Kevin Darnell Cox and Tyrone Lloyd Miller, both 27, along with 25-year-old Emrys Justin John — were convicted of the Oct. 15, 2008, killings. Cox and Miller were sentenced to death, while John received two consecutive life prison terms.
Deputy District Attorney Dan DeLimon said that Sykes conspired to carry out the deadly home invasion, having joined Cox, John and Miller in a similar break-in at an Oceanside residence less than a month earlier.
The prosecutor described Sykes as the ”tip of the spear,” acting as the point man and leading the way into the Pietrzaks’ two-story home at 3139 Bermuda Ave., where the defendants believed they would find guns, drawers full of cash and various high-value commodities.
They ransacked the residence for 90 minutes and took advantage of their helpless victims, both of whom were bound, gagged and blindfolded, the prosecutor said.
Quiana Pietrzak was separated from her husband and placed on a table by Sykes, who stripped her and joined Miller and Cox in sexually violating her with a vibrator, DeLimon said.
Sykes’ attorney, Doug Myers, insisted his client never wanted or intended the Pietrzaks to die.
The attorney said that Sykes was not present when the four fatal shots were fired into the victims, having gone outside to finish loading stolen goods into an SUV.
The defendants confessed that they were mainly interested in the ”stuff” they might be able steal from the victims, who had received numerous gifts at their wedding that August.