UK judge OKs extradition in Colorado murder case
April 12, 2010
LONDON (AP) – A British judge on Monday approved the extradition of a man wanted in Colorado on suspicion of the murder of his wife.
District Judge Howard Riddle rejected a claim by Marcus Bebb-Jones, 46, that a possible life sentence in the U.S. state would be a breach of his human rights. Colorado authorities had previously said they would not seek the death penalty.
The case now goes to the Home Secretary for a final decision.
Bebb-Jones’ lawyer, Ben Cooper, said he would petition the Home Secretary to block extradition, and said there might be a further appeal in court.
“We will be making representations … in respect of the risk of the death penalty being imposed in the absence of specific assurance from the U.S. executive which can be relied upon and enforced,” Cooper said.
Prosecutors alleged that Bebb-Jones, a professional gambler, murdered his wife Sabrina in 1997, when she was 31, and dumped her body in a national park. Her skull was found and positively identified in 2004.
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He returned to his native England, where he was arrested last year.
During a hearing in City of Westminster Magistrates Court, Riddle said a life sentence without possibility of parole would be a harsher sentence than Bebb-Jones would get for the same crime in Britain.
However, the judge said the more severe sentence would not be unreasonable in the circumstances.
“The victim was the mother of a small child. If the murderer was this defendant then, of course, he knew that,” Riddle said.
“What happened afterwards, and in particular the fact that the full remains have never been found, may well exacerbate the offense.”