Hearing delayed for U.K. man charged in wife’s murder
Despite assurances from a Colorado prosecutor that the death penalty isn’t an option, a judge in England on Thursday said he wanted more information on the subject before ruling on the extradition of a man accused of murdering his wife in western Colorado in 1997.
Marcus Bebb-Jones, 46, was ordered on Thursday to remain in custody until his next hearing March 10, according to an account published by the British Broadcasting Corp.
“This court is not going to extradite anyone who will face the death penalty, that’s for sure,” Judge Nicholas Evans was quoted in the BBC account.
Ninth Judicial District Attorney Martin Beeson told The Daily Sentinel earlier this week that he assured British authorities last fall that he will not seek the death penalty. Beeson said officials in England also wanted to know if a judge could order Bebb-Jones put to death anyway, even if Beeson wasn’t seeking that penalty. The DA said it couldn’t happen under Colorado law.
An extradition treaty doesn’t allow for the return of defendants from England to the United States in cases when the death penalty is an option.
Beeson said Bebb-Jones has a right of appeal to a higher court if the judge orders his return to Colorado.
The BBC story said Bebb-Jones’ attorney told the judge he’s seeking a written guarantee from the U.S. Department of Justice that his client won’t face death. The attorney, Ben Cooper, also told the judge that Bebb-Jones may seek to serve a possible prison sentence in England, where Bebb-Jones’ 16-year-old son, Daniel, still lives.
The boy is the biological child of Marcus and Sabrina Bebb-Jones, who were owners of the Hotel Melrose on Colorado Avenue when Sabrina Bebb-Jones was reported missing in September 1997.
Bebb-Jones was arrested in November 2009 at his home in Kidderminster, England, on suspicion of killing his wife. Her skull was found in 2004 by a rancher on Douglas Pass.
Bebb-Jones’ arrest happened shortly after he had returned from a two-month job search in China, according to the Kidderminster Shuttle newspaper. Bebb-Jones was scheduled to take a job there as a financial consultant, the newspaper said.
China has no extradition treaty with the United States.