An English poker champion is facing murder charges in Garfield County District Court — more than 14 years after he allegedly killed his wife in western Colorado.
Marcus Bebb-Jones, 48, allegedly killed Sabrina Bebb-Jones in 1997, before spending a week living the high life in Las Vegas, attempting suicide and eventually taking up residence in England. Charges weren't filed until years later — after his wife's bones were found on an isolated mountain pass 50 miles south of Dinosaur National Monument.
His preliminary hearing, in which a judge will determine whether there is enough evidence to take the case to a jury, began Feb. 24 and will continue March 15.
On Sept. 16, 1997, Bebb-Jones and his wife allegedly argued about his flirting with women while he took visitors on tours from the Melrose Hotel, which they owned in Grand Junction.
In the days after his wife disappeared, he told people he and his wife went to Dinosaur National Monument. They later had an argument about his flirting, and she stormed away and disappeared, court records indicate he said.
He took his son and went searching for her in Las Vegas. A note apparently written by Marcus Bebb-Jones was left under a rock at their home saying, "Sabrina, we are at Circus Circus. We love you, please call."
On Sept. 18, 1997, an employee at the Melrose Hotel called the Garfield County Sheriff's Office and said Sabrina Bebb-Jones was missing.
That day, Marcus Bebb-Jones was in Las Vegas at the Circus Circus Hotel, according to court records.
Three days later, a housekeeper at the Flamingo Hilton in Las Vegas found the couple's 3-year-old son alone, crying in his room and naked from the waist down.
Bebb-Jones was living large in Las Vegas, borrowing money at casinos and putting more than $5,700 on his credit card in a matter of days, according to court records.
He told a friend he rented a Ferrari and hired three or four prostitutes. He said he wanted to go out in style. He then checked into the Mirage hotel, cut his wrists, drank NyQuil and lay down to die, according to court records. When he awoke, he put a gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger but survived the injuries.
On Sept. 22, 1997, a friend met Bebb-Jones at a Las Vegas hospital after Bebb-Jones had shot himself. When the friend asked him whether he knew where Sabrina was, he said, "Oh, she'll show up."
When Sabrina Bebb-Jones' father, Danh Thanh Dang, asked his grandson where she was, the boy told him Sabrina was "dead now," according to the records.
Two days later, police searched Bebb-Jones' white minivan and found blood that would later prove to be Sabrina's.
A few months later, in February 1998, Bebb-Jones took his son to Great Britain to live.
He would tell people that he was divorced or that his wife ran off with another man, according to court documents.
Then, in October 2004, a man herding cattle found a skeleton near Douglas Pass, which is the pass on Colorado 139 between Grand Junction and Rangely. It turned out to be the remains of Sabrina Bebb-Jones.
Investigators linked the purple thistle flowers in the area to similar blooms stuck in the undercarriage of Bebb-Jones' minivan.
A forensic anthropologist noted fractures on the skull that happened before she was dead, according to court records.
At the time of his arrest, Bebb-Jones was a top professional poker player, who won hundreds of thousands of pounds at tournaments across Britain, the London Telegraph reported. On the poker circuit, he won as much as 90,000 pounds in a single tournament — the Grosvenor Grand Prix in Walsall — in 2007, the newspaper reported.