A man who joined three accomplices in tormenting and killing a Marine sergeant and his wife during a home invasion robbery near Murrieta, California, was sentenced Friday to death.
Kesaun Kedron Sykes, 27, was convicted in August of the 2008 slayings of 26-year-olde Quiana Faye Jenkins-Pietrzak and her husband, 24-year-old Janek Pietrzak.
The six-man, six-woman jury that found Sykes guilty recommended the death penalty, and Riverside County Superior Court Judge Christian Thierbach followed that recommendation.
The defendant is the last of four former Marines to be sentenced for the Oct. 15, 2008, killings.
Last year, three members of Janek Pietrzak's helicopter maintenance squadron at Camp Pendleton — Kevin Darnell Cox and Tyrone Lloyd Miller, both 27, along with 25-year-old Emrys Justin John —were convicted.
Cox and Miller were sentenced to death, while John received two consecutive life prison terms.
"Mr. Sykes and the other defendants crossed every line of human decency when they committed these murders," said Deputy District Attorney Dan DeLimon. "We're talking about a pack of predators who actually took pleasure in inflicting pain and suffering. They're more monster than human."
Sykes, Miller, Cox and John forced their way into the Pietrzaks' French Valley home at 3139 Bermuda Ave. after Cox knocked on the door around 1 a.m. asking if he could speak to the sergeant.
After tying up and gagging the victims, the defendants ransacked the home for 90 minutes.
Quiana Pietrzak was separated from her husband and placed on a table by Sykes, who stripped her and joined Miller and Cox in sexually violating her with a vibrator. According to the defendants' own testimony, they mocked the blindfolded woman, making lewd gestures and suggesting that her cooperation might save her life.
The foursome had carried out a similar home-invasion in Oceanside less than a month earlier, though no one was killed. They confessed that they were mainly interested in the "stuff" they might be able steal from the Pietrzaks, who had received numerous gifts at their Aug. 8 wedding.
John shot the couple with a 9mm handgun.
The defendants painted racial epithets on the home's interior walls — and on the victims' bodies — to make it appear as though a hate-crime had occurred. Pietrzak was of Polish descent; Quiana was black.
Sykes' attorney, Doug Myers, argued that his client suffered from an under-developed brain.
Pietrzak's mother, Henryka Varga, and Quiana's mother, Glenda Faye Jenkins, waged a campaign in 2009 seeking legislation to require the Marine Corps to raise its recruiting standards and strengthen vetting procedures to prevent men such as the defendants from joining. The effort did not bear fruit.