Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Gruesome Yacht Murder Case of Thomas and Jackie Hawks

Justice Well Deserved

Jennifer Deleon with her attorney
Jennifer Deleon with her attorney

On Friday November 17, 2006, Jennifer Deleon was found guilty on two counts of first degree murder, after only four hours of jury deliberation. In October 2007, Jennifer Deleon, now calling herself Jennifer Henderson since her divorce from Skylar Deleon, was sentenced to two life terms without the possibility of parole.

"She didn't have so much as a traffic ticket back then. If Jennifer had never met Skylar, none of this would've come into her life," said her attorney, Michael Molfetta, who blames Skylar for the couple's woes. "She had no idea what he was up to, no idea that he was into killing the Hawkses."

But if you ask the trial prosecutor, he'll say that Jennifer ran the show and was the driving force behind everything. "She was the dominant one in the relationship, she wore the pants," Murphy said.

Jennifer has since divorced Skylar and a friend of hers from jail said she wants nothing more to do with him. This is in marked contrast to her earlier frequent visits to him in jail, pledging her love, before she herself was charged. Then the visits stopped.

Deleons case went to trial in the Fall of 2008: Deleon admitted his guilt at the beginning of trial, but prosecutors persisted in an effort to convince jurors to recommend the death penalty for sentencing. A California jury found Skylar Deleon guilty of all three murders on October 20. The penalty phase began October 22; On November 7, the jury returned its recommendation: the death penalty for Deleon.

For Ryan Hawks and the rest of the victims' family, resolution for both cases will mean they can move on with their lives. Hawks and his brother Matt set up a website to help find their parents. Matt posted this note on Father's Day:

Happy fathers day DAD. They don't make words that can explain how great of dad you truly are. I am so thankful to have been raised by someone who taught me so much. I thank you for all the wonderful years we had, and the time spent with us. I promise dad that I will be the father to your grandson Jace that you were to me. I know that Jace will never get to meet you or mom again, but know that he will know all about you and the legacy you leave behind. I love you both so very much. Happy fathers day. Matt Hawks

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