Bebb-Jones apologizes, gets 20 years for killing wife
A man who once owned Grand Junction hotel and went on to be a successful gambler in England today received a 20-year prison sentence for killing his wife in 1997.
Marcus Bebb-Jones was sentenced by 9th Judicial District Court Judge Daniel Petre after apologizing in court in Glenwood Springs earlier in the day for his actions.
“I didn’t intentionally kill Sabrina, but what I did do was wrong and I ask for your forgiveness,” Marcus Bebb-Jones said during his sentencing hearing.
Bebb-Jones, 49, originally had faced a first-degree murder charge, but earlier this year pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the heat of passion. The charge carries a sentencing range of 10 to 32 years in the Department of Corrections, but the plea deal called for Bebb-Jones to serve no more than 20 years.
Sabrina’s siblings and parents asked Petre to impose the 20-year sentence, as did Bill Middleton, who has investigated the case for the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office.
“This terrible man ... He took her life, he took our grandson away and our daughter for no reason,” according to a written statement by Sabrina’s father, Dang Thanh Danh, which was read in court by her youngest brother, Mike Dang. Her family is from Vietnam.
Bebb-Jones and his 31-year-old wife owned the Melrose Hotel and had a 3-year-old son, Daniel, when she disappeared Sept. 16, 1997. Her skull was found by a rancher in 2004 near Douglas Pass in far western Garfield County.
Bebb-Jones sold the hotel after her death and took Daniel back to his father’s native England, where he enjoyed some success in gambling. That included winning 90,000 pounds in a 2007 tournament, deputy public defender Matt Morriss said in court today.
Neither Bebb-Jones nor attorneys made any specific references this morning to how Sabrina died. Although Sabrina’s skull had some abnormalities, the rest of her body was never found and the cause of her death never has been determined.
Assistant District Attorney Scott Turner said that had the case gone to trial, he thinks the defense would have argued that the couple got in some type of argument while returning from Dinosaur National Monument, and that Bebb-Jones then struck her, pushed her or choked her in a fit of rage, “and then in a panic he hid her body and feigned her disappearance to do what (he thought) was right for her son.”
He said that appears to be fairly accurate based on what authorities know now. He decline to elaborate after today’s hearing.
Bebb-Jones also made a statement that’s included in a presentence report, but the report is not public. Deputy public defender Tina Fang said Sabrina died as a result of a split-second “action of rage.”
Said Morriss, “He’s taken responsibility. He’s acknowledged that what he did was wrong.”
His attorneys asked that he be sentenced to as little as the minimum 10-year sentence. Daniel Bebb-Jones and Bebb-Jones’ mother, Pamela Weaver, who lives in England, also had written the court asking for as short a sentence as possible.
Standing to address Petre in a quiet voice, Bebb-Jones said after a long pause that he and Sabrina “were doing exactly what we dreamed of doing” and were happy.
“And in the blink of an eye everything changed, and I’m sorry,” he said.
He said he found it difficult to forgive himself, and he acknowledged that his actions after Sabrina’s death contributed to her family’s pain.
“We all lost so much,” he said, referring to his loss of his partner, Sabrina’s family’s loss of their loved one, and her son’s loss of his mother.
Bebb-Jones, who never looked at family members while addressing Petre, said he wants to say he’s sorry to his family and Daniel, “and I want to say sorry to Sabrina. I am very sorry.”
Bebb-Jones was arrested in England in 2009 and brought to Colorado for prosecution after going through extradition proceedings.