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Jury recommends death for ex-Marine in killing of sergeant, wife in Southern California


SANTA ANA, California — Jurors on Thursday recommended a death sentence for a former Marine convicted of killing another Marine and the man's wife in their Southern California home in 2008, the Riverside County district attorney's office said.

The jury reached the decision involving 27-year-old Kesaun Sykes after finding him guilty of two counts of murder with special circumstances earlier this month.

"While our hearts go out to the victims and their loved ones, we do not believe that a death sentence for Kesaun was warranted or properly reflected the fact that he was not the actual killer of either victim or that he was raised in an environment of severe abuse and neglect," said Sykes' attorney, Doug Myers.

Sykes is one of four former Marines charged in the killings of Sgt. Jan Pietrzak and his wife Quiana Jenkins-Pietrzak.

The three other defendants had worked with Pietrzak while they were stationed at Camp Pendleton. Along with Sykes, they went to the couple's home near Murrieta to rob them and forced their way inside, the district attorney's office said.

Two of those men were sentenced to death and one was sentenced to life without parole.

Authorities say the victims were found bound and shot in the head in their home near Murrieta.

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