Cops defend actions in Bebb-Jones case
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Law enforcement representatives from Mesa County and Las Vegas on Wednesday defended actions they took in 1997 in the case of former Grand Junction motel owner Marcus Bebb-Jones and his then-missing wife.
The investigators testified in a motions hearing in advance of Bebb-Jones’ upcoming trial in November on a first-degree murder charge in the death of his wife Sabrina, whose skull was found in 2004 on Douglas Pass in Garfield County. Bebb-Jones’ public defenders are challenging evidence obtained from actions such as interviewing him in a Las Vegas hospital bed without reading him his rights and impounding his van without a warrant.
Kevin Imbriaco, who investigated the case for the Grand Junction Police Department, said that even though Bebb-Jones kept asking for an attorney, he continued to question Bebb-Jones in the hospital because Bebb-Jones was not in custody or under arrest.
He said Bebb-Jones never asked him to stop asking questions, and he was just trying to find out what happened to Sabrina.
Imbriaco said his actions were consistent with his training at that time, and he didn’t see his actions as being an issue then, although there have been several pertinent court decisions in more recent years.
Bebb-Jones, 49, is being prosecuted after being extradited from his native England. In 1997 he and Sabrina owned the Hotel Melrose in Grand Junction. She disappeared Sept. 16, 1997. Prosecutors say he went on a spending spree in Las Vegas in subsequent days before shooting a hole in his cheek to fake a suicide attempt.
Dale Franc and Michael Gillins with the Las Vegas police also spoke to Bebb-Jones in the hospital without reading him his rights.
Franc said they weren’t investigating a homicide at that point, and were trying to determine if Bebb-Jones had attempted suicide or had been shot by someone else.
Investigators said that at the hospital, Bebb-Jones told them he hadn’t seen his wife since they were at the Mesa Mall in Grand Junction and she left after they argued over her allegations that he was being unfaithful to her.
Franc also didn’t have a warrant when he entered the room where Bebb-Jones shot himself at the Mirage Hotel and Casino. But he said hotel security staff already were in the room, and he also wouldn’t obtain a warrant in such situations because of the potential need “to render aid immediately” to a shooting victim.
Gillins, who’s now retired, also said it wasn’t unusual for police to impound vans before a warrant was obtained to prevent evidence from disappearing if the vehicle disappeared. Authorities say Sabrina’s blood later was found in Bebb-Jones’ confiscated van.
No rulings on motions in the case were made Wednesday.