Professional gambler admits guilt in wife's slaying

Marcus Beeb-Jones to be sentenced in May

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - A professional poker champion from England has pleaded guilty to his wife's 1997 Colorado murder, nearly a decade after her skull was found.

Marcus Bebb-Jones, 49, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in Grand Junction on Friday as part of a plea bargain for the murder of his wife, Sabrina Bebb-Jones.

Sabrina was killed in September of 1997 but it wasn't until 2004 that her skull was found by a rancher in a remote wooded area on Douglass Pass.   The two owned a small hotel in Grand Junction and Marcus told police his wife disappeared.

Marcus unsuccessfully attempted suicide in Las Vegas before moving back to England after his wife's disappearance. 

He was extradited back to the United States in 2009, when charges were bought following, a lengthy investigation by the Garfield County Sheriff's Office.  He was extradited after prosecutors agreed they would seek only a life sentence, not the death penalty, in the case.

Sheriff Lou Vallario was not pleased with the plea bargain.

"While are glad this case is drawing to a close, we are saddened that Marcus Bebb-Jones was not appropriately convicted of first degree murder, as was apparent by the evidence provided during the preliminary hearing," he said in a statement.  He referred to Bebb-Jones as a "heinous killer."

Bebb-Jones is scheduled to appear in court for sentencing on May 1.

"We are most grateful and respectful of Sabrina's family who has been so patient and understanding throughout the entire 15 years of their ordeal. Our hearts go out to them and we wish them well.  It is our deepest wishes that they can obtain closure on this case and allow their hearts to heal," said Vallario.