A woman accused of helping her husband and several accomplices kill a wealthy couple for their yacht was found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder Friday.
Jennifer Deleon, 25, was convicted in the Nov. 15, 2004, deaths of Tom Hawks, a retired probation officer, and his 47-year-old wife, Jackie, who according to testimony were tied to an anchor and thrown overboard.
She was also convicted of murder for financial gain. Prosecutors decided not to seek the death penalty.
The prosecution said Deleon, a mother of two, helped her husband, Skylar Deleon, gain the trust of the Hawkses before the killings by bringing her baby on a visit, helped cover up the murders and lied to investigators.
Her defense attorney, Michael Molfetta, had argued that Deleon was a manipulated wife who was terrified of her husband and didn't know of his plans to kill the Hawkses until after they were dead.
Skylar Deleon and John Fitzgerald Kennedy, who both face the death penalty if convicted, go to trial early next year. Two other men are also charged and face separate trials.
The Hawkses had been living aboard the yacht Well Deserved after moving from Prescott, Ariz.
Prosecutors allege that the Deleons approached the Hawkses about buying the yacht and persuaded them to go on a test ride at sea.
Once at sea, prosecutors say, Skylar Deleon, Kennedy and 22-year-old Alonso Machain overpowered the couple, forced them to sign over ownership of the yacht, tied them to an anchor and threw them overboard. The bodies have never been found.
The Deleons then cleaned the boat with bleach and arranged to have the ownership papers notarized with backdates, according to prosecutors. The couple also tried to withdraw money from the victims' Arizona bank account and conspired with Machain to make it look like the Hawkses had moved to Mexico, the prosecution said.