SANTA ANA, Calif. -- A jury on Monday convicted a Southern California man of murdering three people, including a couple who were tied to an anchor and thrown off their yacht.
Skylar Deleon's attorney had conceded to the jury from the outset that Deleon was guilty but should not be put to death. The penalty phase of the trial will begin Wednesday.
The Superior Court jury deliberated two hours before convicting Deleon, 29, of three counts of first-degree murder and special circumstances of murder for financial gain and multiple murders.
Two victims, Tom and Jackie Hawks, were thrown from their Newport Harbor-based yacht in 2004 during a cruise to show the vessel to Deleon, whom they believed was a prospective buyer. The other victim was a man whose throat was slashed in Mexico after he gave Deleon $50,000.
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The Hawkses were trying to sell the half-a-million dollar yacht to move back to Arizona to spend time with their baby grandson.
Prosecutors said a cash-strapped Deleon feigned interest in buying the boat and took a test cruise where -- with help from two men -- he overpowered the Hawkses, forced the couple to sign over ownership of the boat, tied them to the anchor and dumped them into the Pacific Ocean. Deleon and his then-wife Jennifer Henderson later scrubbed the boat clean with bleach wipes.
The Hawkses' bodies were never found.
Henderson was convicted in 2006 of murder and murder for financial gain and was sentenced to two terms of life in prison without parole.
Three other men also charged with the Hawkses' deaths have yet to stand trial. They have pleaded not guilty.
Deleon was also convicted Monday in the 2003 killing of an Anaheim man he met in a work furlough program in 2003 while serving jail time for burglary. Deleon killed John Jarvi in Mexico after receiving money from him that he used to pay off his own bills.
On March 14, Deleon somehow got a razor and "tried to saw off his penis" while in his cell, said Damon Micalizzi of the Orange County Sheriff's Department.
"He was unsuccessful," Micalizzi said. "As I understand it, there was a lot of blood."
Deleon was taken to a hospital, his penis was re-attached, and he was back in his cell the next day, Micalizzi said.