Killer asks to serve sentence in England
DA wants him to stay in Colorado
The English mother of convicted killer Marcus Bebb-Jones has told a newspaper it would “mean the world” to her if he’s allowed to serve his sentence in the United Kingdom, but prosecutors in Glenwood Springs say they oppose his transfer from Colorado.
“His crime was completed in the state of Colorado. He needs to do his time in the state of Colorado,” said Scott Turner, assistant district attorney for the 9th Judicial District.
He says prosecutors also fear Bebb-Jones could be paroled sooner if transferred to England.
Bebb-Jones, 50, received a 20-year sentence in May after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in the death of his wife, Sabrina. They owned a Grand Junction hotel when she disappeared in 1997, and her skull was found in 2004 near Douglas Pass. Bebb-Jones told authorities he left her body there after striking and killing her.
Bebb-Jones’ mother, Pamela Weaver, lives in Kidderminster with his and Sabrina’s son. Bebb-Jones had moved to Kidderminster after his wife’s death and was arrested in 2009, after having done some professional gambling.
Bebb-Jones has applied to serve his sentence in the United Kingdom, closer to his family. Since 2003, the Colorado Department of Corrections has let foreign nationals seek transfers to prisons in their home countries if those countries have treaties with the United States allowing for such transfers. However, DOC spokesperson Roger Hudson said that as far as he knows no one has ever been approved for a transfer from Colorado.
Weaver told the Kidderminster Shuttle newspaper that she’s been unable to visit her son since March 2011 because of travel costs.
“To me and the family it would be wonderful if the application was successful. We would be able to go and visit him and it would cost much less money. Just to have him home, I cannot describe it, it would mean everything,” she told the paper.
“I have no idea if it will be successful. I cannot see why they would want to keep him there other than just being malicious.”
Applications undergo review within the DOC, and the DOC director or the governor may approve or deny requests. The U.S. Department of Justice and treaty nation involved also must approve a request before it can occur.
No decisions on Bebb-Jones’ application have yet been made within DOC and there’s no specific timeframe under the policy for making one, Hudson said.
While local prosecutors play no formal role in request reviews, Hudson said the DOC would talk to local law enforcement and the community in considering its decision.
“We’d want to take a look at the impact it would have on the victims,” he added.
“… Victims are incredibly important to us, and not only that but the citizens of the community where the crime took place.
“We will move forward with the request and it will go through all the proper channels and all the correct people will be consulted.”
Said Turner, “Our understanding is, yes, our input will be sought as well as the input from the victim’s family, and we will certainly be opposed to any request.
“… (Bebb-Jones) availed himself to our laws when he murdered Sabrina Bebb-Jones and that needs to be maintained.”
He said prosecutors’ research indicates Bebb-Jones would be eligible for parole sooner in the United Kingdom than in Colorado.
Robert Dang, Sabrina’s brother, previously has said the family is upset that Bebb-Jones is eligible for parole in Colorado after serving 10 years of his 20-year sentence. That eligibility comes even sooner because he gets credit for about three and a half years of time served before his sentencing.
Turner said prosecutors last spring outlined parole scenarios for Sabrina’s family, but any parole decision in Colorado is dependent on factors outside prosecutors’ control.
Turner said prosecutors haven’t considered the savings to Colorado taxpayers if Bebb-Jones served his sentence abroad. Besides being concerned about the possibility of earlier parole, prosecutors’ position on Bebb-Jones’ transfer request is a matter of principle, Turner said.
“He owes a debt to the people of Colorado and he should pay that debt here,” Turner said.