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Trial begins for Marines charged in deaths

April 9, 2013 at 4:39 PM

RIVERSIDE, Calif., April 9 (UPI) -- A trial that could end in the death penalty for three Marines accused of killing a sergeant began in California with damning evidence from prosecutors.

Three of the four Marines charged in the killing -- Emrys John, 23, Tyrone Miller, 25, and Kevin Cox, 25 -- are charged with capital murder, burglary, robbery, sexual assault and a slew of other charges, The (Riverside) Press-Enterprise said Tuesday.

Along with a fourth suspect, Kesaun Sykes, the men are accused of robbing and killing Sgt. Jan Pietrzak, 24, and his wife, Quiana Jenkins-Pietrzak, 26, inside their home just off the grounds of Camp Pendleton in Southern California.

Prosecutors said the three men bragged about killing the couple and expressed surprise they didn't find more valuables inside their home.

Police said they matched footprints found in the home -- and on Jenkins-Pietrzak's back -- to shoes the defendants owned. Detectives also found items belonging to the couple at the defendants' homes, including jewelry and an ATM card.

After being tied up and robbed, Jenkins-Pietrzak was sexually assaulted and the couple was shot, execution-style, through couch cushions to muffle the noise, police said.

Sykes, the fourth suspect, is being tried separately, The Press-Enterprise said.

The trial is expected to last until June.

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