Bebb-Jones pleads guilty in murder of wife

Former Grand Junction motel owner Marcus Bebb-Jones this morning pleaded guilty to murder in the 1997 death of his wife Sabrina under a deal with prosecutors.

The plea brings to a close a 16-year investigation into Sabrina’s death. It also means a six-week jury trial that had been scheduled for April 1 has been canceled, the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office said in a news release.

Bebb-Jones, who had faced a first-degree murder charge, agreed to plead 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 calls for Bebb-Jones to serve no more than 20 years, the district attorney’s office said. The court has ordered that a presentence report be prepared before the May 1 sentencing.

In court this morning, the victim’s family read a statement though Assistant District Attorney Scott Turner in which they asked that Bebb-Jones receive the maximum possible penalty “for his cruelty, lack of remorse and for taking Sabrina from them,” the district attorney’s office said.

Sabrina disappeared in September 1997 and her skull was found in Douglas Pass in Garfield County in 2004. The couple owned the Melrose Hotel at the time of her disappearance. Marcus Bebb-Jones later was extradited from England to be prosecuted.

The plea agreement includes dismissal of a misdemeanor harassment charge related to an altercation between Bebb-Jones and another inmate in the Garfield County Jail.

Former 9th District Attorney Martin Beeson had thought he had reached a plea deal with Bebb-Jones last summer, and Sabrina’s family came from out of state for the proceedings, but Bebb-Jones instead pleaded not guilty. Democrat Sherry Caloia defeated the Republican Beeson by fewer than 200 votes in November, and while the race outcome was still uncertain in the days after the election Beeson had expressed fears about how a change in attorneys in the office might affect the ability to prosecute the case in a trial.


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