Yacht Murderer: I 'Never Really Felt Evil'

Skylar Deleon talks about the murder of Tom and Jackie Hawks.

ByABC News
February 4, 2009, 9:12 PM

Feb. 5, 2009— -- In his first network television interview since being convicted for murder, Skylar Deleon told ABC News Senior Law and Justice correspondent Jim Avila that he was guilty and, for the Hawks family, that he's "absolutely sorry."

In October 2008, the jury voted for the death penalty for Deleon, a former child actor who murdered Tom and Jackie Hawks aboard their yacht in 2004.

Each harrowing moment of the crime was laid out in painful detail during a calm confession from Alonso Machain, an accomplice and eyewitness to the murders.

In his confession, Machain described Deleon's plot to kill the couple, including important details up until the moment Deleon pushed the couple overboard.

When asked about the murder, Deleon, 29, told ABC News, "I've never really felt evil. I felt more of, 'I don't care. I don't care about my life. I don't care about what happens to you.'"

Tom, 57, and Jackie Hawks, 47, had worked all their lives to retire early. They quit the 9-5 world to live the life they had saved for during all those hard years working. Tom Hawks was a parole officer and Jackie Hawks was a mother to his two boys, Matt and Ryan.

Ryan Hawks, 32, said his father lived a frugal lifestyle.

"The reason he was able to retire early and live on the water and do this dream of traveling through Mexico was because of his financial responsibility," he said.

The Hawks bought a 55-foot live-aboard yacht, the Well-Deserved, a mostly wooden boat with teak decks and brass rails.

"It's not just their boat, it's their house," Ryan Hawks said. "It still smelled like my stepmom's cooking. It still had my dad's movies on VHS, favorite movies. The only difference is, it was floating and had a name."

When Matt Hawks' son arrived, new grandparents Tom and Jackie Hawks decided to leave their two years of life on the water. They invited their friends on board and said goodbye to the vagabond life. Then, the Well-Deserved was put up for sale.

In Long Beach, another California couple were thinking about making some life changes of their own. Skylar Deleon and his wife, Jennifer, wanted a better place to live and when they saw an ad for the Well-Deserved, they hatched a sinister plot to make it their dreamboat.

"[Jennifer] wanted that fairy-tale life," Skylar Deleon said.

Skylar Deleon and his wife were both deep in debt. A minor role in the popular '80s television show "Power Rangers" did not help Deleon's acting career. He made a few commercials, locally and nationally, with limited success. After joining the Marine Corps only to be discharged, he bounced from job to job while his wife worked as a hairdresser.

Finally, Deleon stayed home to watch his daughter, unable to earn enough money to justify paying a baby sitter.

"I have my own profession. He's always been very supportive whether I wanted to work more hours or not," Jennifer Deleon said in an interview with "20/20" in 2005, before her arrest. "We have a lot of fun together. He's very sweet, sensitive, lots of love letters through our dating. Very sweet. He is a very good dad. They have so much fun."

Four years later, after both had been through their court trials, Skylar Deleon gave a more accurate account of their life and "fun" was not how he described it. He told ABC News that he remembers his wife being unhappy about their home, which was really just a small garage in her parents' house. With a daughter and a baby on the way, the little room was hopelessly crowded and cramped. The bathroom and kitchen were inside the parents' quarters.