A BRITISH poker champion accused of killing his wife then spending her money during a “playboy” weekend in Las Vegas fears he faces the death penalty in the US, a court heard yesterday.
Marcus Bebb-Jones, 46, murdered his wife Sabrina in 1997 before dumping her body in an American national park, prosecutors claim.
But a judge’s decision to extradite him from Britain was postponed after defence counsel Ben Cooper said he was seeking assurances Bebb-Jones would not face the death penalty.
Mr Cooper told an extradition hearing at City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court: “He faces a minimum sentence of life without parole in Colorado but this is not yet fixed – he is also eligible for the death penalty.”
District Judge Nicholas Evans said: “This court is not going to extradite anyone who will face the death penalty. That’s for sure.”
The professional gambler was arrested last year in a raid at his home in Kidderminster amid accusations he went on to spend thousands on his wife’s credit cards before botching a suicide bid.
Mr Cooper said he wanted to seek “assurances” Bebb-Jones would not face death over the murder charge.
The judge agreed to postpone his decision and said he hoped the case would be resolved on March 10.
At a previous hearing, prosecutors representing the US Government claimed the poker player had shot himself in the head in a bizarre sequence of events after allegedly killing his wife. Her skull was not found until 2004.
An arrest warrant was issued by US authorities on October 30 this year, Aaron Watkins, representing the US Government, said. Mr Watkins previously said: “On September 16 1997 he took his wife to a national park in Colorado where she was murdered.
“On the weekend following that incident it is said Mr Bebb-Jones went to Las Vegas and spent thousands of dollars, partially using credit cards in his wife’s name.
“He lived a playboy lifestyle that weekend.”
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