Wife-killer seeks transfer to prison cell in England
Marcus Bebb-Jones is proceeding with efforts to be transferred to England to serve the remainder of his prison sentence for killing his wife and former Grand Junction business partner.
Roger Hudson, a spokesman for the Colorado Department of Corrections, said it appears Bebb-Jones “has completed and submitted the paperwork necessary to transfer his incarceration” to the United Kingdom.
He also has paid off his court-ordered restitution of $515.50, one of a number of requirements to become eligible to seek a transfer.
Bebb-Jones, 50, was sentenced to 20 years in prison May 1 after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in the death of his wife, Sabrina. The two owned a hotel in Grand Junction at the time of her disappearance in 1997. Her skull was found seven years later near Douglas Pass, where Bebb-Jones told authorities he left her body after striking and killing her.
Bebb-Jones is from England, his mother and his and Sabrina’s son live there, and he had returned there and had gained some attention as a professional gambler before his 2009 arrest. His mother, Pamela Weaver, previously told the Kidderminster Shuttle newspaper in England that she thinks he pleaded guilty because of the opportunity to serve his sentence in England and be visited by his family.
The Colorado Department of Corrections since 2003 has allowed foreign nationals to apply to serve their sentences in their home countries in cases where the countries have treaties with the United States allowing such transfers between them. As of May, however, no such transfers had occurred from Colorado.
Homaidan al-Turki, who sexually assaulted a housekeeper, had sought a transfer to Saudi Arabia, but his application was rejected by Department of Corrections Director Tom Clements before Clements’ murder in March.
Transfers can be denied by the governor. They also require approval of the U.S. Department of Justice and the treaty nation involved.
Hudson said the Department of Corrections hasn’t heard back about the status of Bebb-Jones’ application.
According to the department, Bebb-Jones had been in contact with the United Kingdom consulate to make sure his documents were in order for his application.
Foreign nationals who have committed violent crimes in Colorado must have fewer than 10 years to serve before being eligible for parole in order to apply for a transfer. A 20-year sentence means eligibility for parole in 10 years, and Bebb-Jones will be eligible even sooner thanks to credit for about three and a half years spent in custody before his sentencing.
Robert Dang, Sabrina’s brother, couldn’t be reached for comment this week. After Bebb-Jones’ sentencing, the family issued a public letter thanking prosecutors and others involved in the case.
But after the Daily Sentinel reported in May about the possibility of Bebb-Jones seeking a transfer, Dang said by email that the family is “more disappointed and disgusted as days go by.”
He didn’t refer to the possibility of a transfer but took issue with the total amount of time Bebb-Jones might serve.
“How can an self-admitted wife killer receive a 20-year sentence and (he) could serve less than 10 years? This is bait-and-switch justice and would send a very bad message to society, especially women,” Dang said.
Twenty years were the most Bebb-Jones could receive under the terms of his plea deal and was the amount sought by prosecutors.
Ninth Judicial District Attorney Sherry Caloia has said the outcome of the case was a fair one given challenges such as the fact that it dated back 16 years, Sabrina’s body never was found and a cause of death never was determined.
Former 9th Judicial District Attorney Martin Beeson, who was in the middle of prosecuting Bebb-Jones when Caloia defeated him in the November 2012 election, has criticized the plea deal as being “a windfall to the defendant.”