Bebb-Jones will face trial over first-degree murder charges
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – A local judge on Wednesday ruled that Marcus Bebb-Jones should stand trial on charges of first degree murder, in a case that has stretched on for 14 years and involved police from two states and two countries.
The defendant showed no emotion as the judge ruled from the bench at approximately 6:15 p.m., ending a preliminary hearing that took two and a half days.
Bebb-Jones, 48, a British citizen, is accused of killing his Vietnamese-born wife, Sabrina Bebb-Jones, on Sept. 16, 1997, and dumping her body in a remote section of western Garfield County.
The couple owned and ran the Melrose Hotel in Grand Junction at the time, and were experiencing marital discord over Marcus Bebb-Jones’ flirtations with other women and over disagreements about money matters, according to the Ninth District Attorney’s office.
The prosecution’s case against Bebb-Jones is entirely circumstantial, since there were no witnesses to his wife’s death, and no coroner’s report or no death certificate because her body was never found.
Her skull was found in October 2004 by a cowboy looking for stray cattle along Douglas Pass, Highway 139, northeast of Grand Junction.
Defense attorney Matthew Morriss, of the Colorado Public Defender’s Office, argued that the prosecution had failed to prove that Bebb-Jones intended to kill his wife, and that he deliberated over the plans to do so. Both points are elements of the first-degree murder charge.
Bebb-Jones has said all along that his wife left him. Prosecutors maintain that he told different stories to different people about the circumstances of the break-up, at various points claiming his wife had died of a disease or in a car wreck.
Late Wednesday afternoon, Ninth District Daniel Petre ruled that the facts brought to light by District Attorney Martin Beeson and two deputy DAs, Anne Norrdin and Jeff Cheney, “created a web that demonstrates probable cause … to believe that Mr. Bebb-Jones killed Sabrina Bebb-Jones … with intent and deliberation.”
According to the prosecution’s case, Marcus Bebb-Jones killed his wife after they had taken a day trip to Dinosaur National Monument, and over the course of two nights afterward disposed of her body.
Dinosaur-area witnesses reported seeing the couple around town, and that Sabrina Bebb-Jones seemed angry.
The next day, according to the prosecution, Bebb-Jones meticulously cleaned out the van the couple had driven to Dinosaur, attempting to obliterate traces of blood from the alleged crime.
The motives for the crime, according to the prosecution, were to get control of the couple’s assets, gain custody of their 3-year-old son Daniel, and return to Britain to live the high life of a professional gambler.
After the disappearance of his wife, Bebb-Jones went to Las Vegas for a gambling, spending and partying spree. Beeson called the trip “the celebration of the accomplished goal and plans of the defendant.”
Bebb-Jones later sold the hotel, realizing a profit of more than $200,000, and returned to England with Daniel, who is now 18.
British authorities arrested Bebb-Jones in November 2009, and extradited him to the U.S. after Beeson promised Bebb-Jones that he would not seek the death penalty.
Bebb-Jones is due in court again on April 26 for further proceedings. No trial date has yet been set.
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