"You grow up with your dad abusing you and friends doing things to you … from the pulling hair to sticking things up my nails, sticking stuff under them … seemed like every single thing was against you," he told ABC News.
Skylar Deleon said he hadn't worried about his own welfare, or the pain he caused others. Not until he got to jail, unable to see his two children, did the murders he committed mean anything to him. Now, he says, he has discovered a sense of loss and can finally feel for his victims.
"There is nothing genuine there at all," said Dietz. "It's just a bunch of words. He is struggling to say something because he has been put on the spot. But how ridiculous is that? The notion that you have to lose something to know it is bad to kill people."
"I guess losing my kids and not being able to hold the person that I love anymore, that's what really hits me now," Skylar Deleon said. "I wish I could go back in time, you know. Give back his parents, 'cause now I realize what he's lost."
At trial, Skylar Deleon's attorney Gary Pohlson took an unusual approach. He didn't argue Skylar Deleon's guilt, only that his life be spared because of his difficult childhood, suffering at the hands of an abusive father.
The jury found him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. After a protracted second phase to determine sentencing, the jury took two days to find him worthy of the death penalty.
Ryan Hawks noted the irony that his father, a probation officer, would be killed by Skylar Deleon -- a criminal who was, at the time, on probation for burglary.
"My father believed in public service. He was a civil servant all of his life and he really believed in rehabilitation of criminals," Ryan Hawks said. "The way they went was unthinkable. … I never heard of such an inhumane way to torture someone and kill such, you know, two loving individuals that did nothing wrong."
The Hawks had worked hard to live the good life: They were free of debt and their lives were filled with family and friends, only to have it end so coldly off the stern of their beloved dream boat, by a man one member of the jury referred to as "evil, terrible" and "unbelievably scary."