Bebb-Jones fighting extradition to U.S. in slaying of wife

An attorney for a man accused of killing his wife in western Colorado told a judge Wednesday that a life sentence would be “inhuman” for his client, according to a British media report.

Ben Cooper, who is fighting 46-year-old Marcus Bebb-Jones’ extradition from England to Colorado, told a judge that life behind bars without the possibility of parole would be a “grossly disproportionate” punishment if Bebb-Jones is convicted in the 1997 murder of his wife, Sabrina, according to a report from the British Broadcasting Corp.

Cooper added such a sentence would be inconsistent with English standards of justice, while “taking no account of the gravity of the crime or the progress made toward rehabilitation,” the BBC said.

Judge Howard Riddle is expected to announce a decision April 12 on whether Bebb-Jones will be forced to return to the United States to face trial. In a move aimed at speeding up Bebb-Jones’ extradition, prosecutors in Colorado last fall pledged they will not seek the death penalty.

Marcus and Sabrina Bebb-Jones were owners of the Hotel Melrose in Grand Junction in 1997, when authorities allege he killed her, dumped her body in Dinosaur National Monument and charged several thousand dollars to her credit cards in Las Vegas.

She was reported missing by an employee at the hotel in September 1997, according to an arrest warrant affidavit. The employee told police that Marcus Bebb-Jones explained he and his wife were in a fight on the evening of Sept. 16.

Her skull was discovered by a rancher on Douglas Pass in 2004.

A prolific professional poker player in his native England, Marcus Bebb-Jones was arrested at his home in November 2009 and has remained in custody there without bond.

He has a right of appeal to a higher court in England if the judge orders his return to the United States next month.


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