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Wed, July 17

Friday Catchall: Murder, again; and bear safety

Jackie and Tom Hawks were murdered in 2004 for their yacht. (Courtesy)

Jackie and Tom Hawks were murdered in 2004 for their yacht. (Courtesy)

The Friday Catchall:

• MURDER & BOATS – It appears that Mexico or the waters near it are not the safest places in the world.

That goes without saying when you consider news this week of a Prescott couple, who was murdered in an apparent botched robbery over their boat, in a Gulf of California town in Mexico. Jo Anne Butler and Ray Ball were found shot to death in their Bahia de los Angeles home.

When I first read the story, I could not help but think it was incorrect. “It wasn’t about a robbery, it was over the sale of their boat,” my mind’s voice said to me.

That is because I was thinking about the 2004 murder of Tom and Jackie Hawks of Prescott, which The Daily Courier reported on extensively, including sentencings. A child actor, Skylar Deleon – who appeared on the “Mighty Morph’n Power Rangers” on TV in 1994 – was sentenced to death in 2009 for their murders plus the killing of an Anaheim man in 2003.

Deleon and two other men were convicted of tying the Hawks couple to an anchor and throwing them overboard from their yacht off Southern California, as part of a plan to steal their yacht. Deleon’s then-wife helped craft the plan and assisted Deleon in scrubbing the boat clean, according to Courier archives.

One of the other men also received the death penalty, the second got 20 years, and the wife got two life terms.

Latest update, from 2015, stated that Deleon has been engaged to two women while on death row, and has asked the courts to pay for his sexual reassignment surgery. California taxpayers weren’t so sure.

According to, “with nearly 750 condemned men and women in California today, and no executions since a moratorium was issued in 2006,” odds are fairly high Deleon will live out a natural life.

Sad state of affairs, in so many ways.

• DON’T FEED THE ANIMALS – In today’s Courier you will find a recap of the challenges bears have been having lately. One of them reportedly was originally found in the Prescott Valley area.

The two things we can learn from this are that a call to Game & Fish is not always a death sentence to a wandering bear. Officials worked to relocate the bear from Prescott Valley; it was put down after making its way into an Anthem residential area, many miles away.

Also, no exceptions: do not feed wild animals, do not give them a reason to come into town or residential areas. They are not pets, and their cuteness disappears when they are denied food or they get into traffic. A host of scenarios is possible.

• RESTRICTIONS – As much as I want to mow the yard (right!) or do some welding, I cannot – and will not – until we get some rain.

That is my opinion, and I get the feeling that’s what law enforcement wants to hear.

Unfortunately, I see (and hear) too often lately people still going about their regular tasks, which could spark a fire.

Folks, there are only certain things that are “outlawed” right now. But we all must take them seriously. (Visit this column online for a link to the list of what you can and cannot do.)

I must say too that the county has it right. As I was leaving the house Thursday morning, a mower went by (cutting down the roadside weeds), followed by a water truck.

Keep up the good work, guys!

• PICK OF THE WEEK – (Proving there’s always something good to do in the Prescott area that’s cheap or free): The Prescott Film Festival kicks off today (through June 16). Visit for our story, watch for regular updates, or visit

Enjoy it – from a cool, dark theater!

Tim Wiederaenders is the senior news editor for The Daily Courier and Prescott Newspapers, Inc. Follow him on Twitter @TWieds_editor. Reach him at 928-445-3333, ext. 2032, or

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