Skylar Deleon, a former child actor who had a non-speaking role on TV’s Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, was convicted in an Orange County, Calif., courtroom Monday of three counts of first-degree murder, including the deaths of a couple he tied to an anchor and threw off their yacht.
Deleon, 29, was convicted of killing Prescott, Ariz., couple Tom Hawks, 57, and his wife Jackie, 47, who were last seen on Nov. 15, 2004, after departing on a test run to sell their 55-ft. yacht, the “Well Deserved.”
He is also charged with slitting the throat of – and scamming $50,000 from – John Jarvi, 45, of Anaheim, Calif., whose body was left near a roadway in Ensenada, Mexico, on Dec. 27, 2003.
Ryan Hawks, Tom Hawks’s son, called the verdict a “warm up” for the penalty phase, which is scheduled to begin Wednesday, the Associated Press reports. “It felt like a little tiny piece of the puzzle was put in justice,” said Hawks.
Deleon’s attorney, Gary Pohlson, conceded at the start of the trial, “Skylar is guilty of all three murders, [but] at the end of this, I’m going to ask you to give him life without the possibility of parole as the appropriate sentence.”
‘Horrible, Horrible Life’
Explaining the call for leniency, Pohlson told reporters Monday, “He’s had a horrible, horrible life” and that Deleon’s father abused the boy and later died of AIDS. Pohlson also argued in court that his client was not the mastermind of the killings.
In the murder of the Hawkses, prosecutors said Deleon pretended to be interested in purchasing the vessel, took a test cruise on which he and two other men overpowered the couple, forced them to sign over the boat’s ownership and then disposed of the couple in the Pacific.
The Hawkses’ bodies were never recovered.