Forty six year old Marcus Bebb-Jones murdered his wife Sabrina in 1997 and after killing her he hid her body in a national park, according to prosecutors. The poker pro was arrested last year in a raid that took place in his home in Kidderminster. A judge has now ruled that Bebb-Jones can be extradited to the US to face charges in the murder.
Bebb-Jones went on a spending spree after killing his wife. The District Judge Howard Riddle of the City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London sent the case to the Secretary of State to see if the pro would be extradited or not.
The judge said that if life on parole was imposed it would fall short of inhuman and degrading treatment. The judge was satisfied that extraditing the pro was compatible with Bebb-Jones human rights.
Bebb-Jones defense argued that there was a risk that the death penalty would be imposed but the District Attorney in the US stated that the state of Colorado would not seek the death penalty. “If this court refers the matter to the Secretary of State then, before any decision to extradite, the United Kingdom authorities will obtain the necessary assurance.”
The judge added: “If the defendant is found guilty of murder in the first degree, which is the charge he faces, the maximum penalty for committing the crime would be a term of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. The defense argues that a whole life sentence which, in real terms, is irreducible violates a prisoner’s rights.”
The judge stated that many factors were involved in the case instead of just the fact of murder. “The victim was the mother of a small child. If the murderer was this defendant then, of course, he knew that.
“What happened afterwards and in particular the fact that the full remains have never been found, may well exacerbate the offense.
“The fact, if it is a fact that the murder occurred in a domestic context may also be considered an aggravating feature.
“Ultimately it is probably a matter of judgment whether a sentence of life without parole is clearly, obviously or grossly disproportionate for the crime of which this defendant is accused.
“In this country it is unlikely that such a sentence would be imposed on these facts. In our judicial system such a sentence would not be thought to be appropriate, too harsh.
“I accept the possibility that some people would consider such a sentence to be grossly disproportionate.
“However it is not obviously or clearly grossly disproportionate. On these facts the prospect of a whole life term falls short of inhuman and degrading treatment.”
US prosecutors claimed that Bebb-Jones shot himself in the head in a strange sequence of events after he killed his wife. Sabrina’s skull was not found until 2004. An arrest warrant was issued by the US in October of last year.
Aaron Watkins who is representing the US government summed up what happened by stating that the pro took his wife to a national park in Colorado where he murdered her. He then created several stories which conflicted with one another to explain her absence. The weekend following the incident Bebb-Jones went to Vegas and spent thousands of dollars part of which were bought with credit cards of his wife.
Watkins went on to say that the case against the pro is very strong and that Bebb-Jones faces life in prison without the possibility of parole. Bebb-Jones’ counsel Ben Cooper said later: “We will be making representations to the Secretary of State in respect of the risk of the death penalty being imposed in the absence of specific assurance from the US executive which can be relied upon and enforced.”