Yacht Murderer Wanted Sexual Reassignment Surgery

Skylar Deleon, who murdered two people, says it's unfortunate he's still a man.

ByABC News
February 4, 2009, 9:12 PM

Feb. 6, 2009— -- Skylar Deleon had wanted a sex change for a long time, and finally decided to take matters into his own hands.

In his first network television interview since being convicted for murdering a couple aboard their yacht, Skylar Deleon told ABC News that he wanted to be a woman so badly, he tried to cut off his genitalia in prison.

"I basically took a sheet and tied it around my lower extremity … I tied it around and I went to cut it off," he told ABC News.

Deleon's dreams of big money and a more luxurious lifestyle came to an end after he murdered Tom and Jackie Hawks aboard the couple's yacht in 2004. In October 2008, the jury voted for the death penalty for Deleon, 29, a former child actor .

But some believe the motive behind the murders didn't have to do with a desire for material wealth, or Deleon's abusive childhood. Instead, the cold-blooded killings may have been driven by Deleon's gender identity.

"This caper, this entire murder, this desire to get some wealth, to get some money, was to pay for that sex change," said Michael Molfetta, a defense attorney who represented Deleon's wife, Jennifer.

Deleon said he had long thought about removing his organ. Investigators found evidence in the garage apartment he shared with his wife, Jennifer, that indicated he had been researching the procedure. His wife's trial attorney told "20/20" Deleon often wore women's clothes and was determined to be a female.

During the interview Deleon was quick to point out that he's straight, and that even though he wanted to be a woman, he also wanted to continue his relationship with his wife.

"I'm not attracted to guys," he said. "But I wanted the surgery, and I knew I 100 percent wanted the surgery. But I only like females."

Deleon said he avoided the surgery for a long time because he wanted his daughter to "have the most normal life possible" and didn't want to "mix her up."

In the end Deleon said he and his wife decided he would go forward with the sexual reassignment surgery one day. But when Deleon was convicted for murder, and jailed, he knew that day would never come.

"I'll do it myself," he recalled thinking.

He hoped that if he became female he would be moved into a women's prison because, "I get along a lot better with females than I do with the guys."

As Deleon tried to cut off his penis, he said the prison deputies stopped him right away, rushed into his jail cell and brought him to the hospital.

"[The deputies] got me too quick," he said. "And it's a lot harder to cut than you think."

It didn't hurt, he said, not until afterward. "Unfortunately," Deleon said, he is still a man.