MURRIETA, Calif. (CBS/AP) They were a young military couple: Marine Sgt. Jan Pietrzak, 24, and his wife, Quiana Jenkins-Pietrzak, 26.
But according to prosecutors, the sergeant, who served in Iraq, and his wife, were murdered on a military base in a 2008 home invasion horror show. Worse yet, prosecutors say the culprits were fellow servicemen, including one known as "Psycho."
Now, parents of the slain couple are seeking to meet with President Barack Obama. According to the New York Daily News, the mothers of the two wrote that the "tragedy of Jenkins and Pietrzak families is an important issue for Americans." A White House aide acknowledged receiving the letter, the Daily News reports, and said they "would respond to the grieving moms."
Will the president invite the parents to the White House? We don't know, but we do know the details of the case, and they are gruesome.
According to prosecutors, a group of four African-American Marines entered the Pietrzak home at Camp Pendleton in October 2008. Sgt. Pietrzak was hog-tied and forced to watch helplessly as his wife was repeatedly assaulted with a sex toy. The assailants tortured the couple for hours before killing them both.
In the aftermath, law enforcement officials found racist remarks spray-painted on the walls of the home. The words "N----- Lover" were found near the master bedroom and on a mirror in the bathroom. Sgt. Pietrzak was white. Quiana Jenkins was black.
The home was ransacked and jewelry and other items were taken, investigators said. A fire was set, apparently in an effort to destroy evidence.
This week, a judge affirmed the murder charges against the four accused, and they will stand trial for the double killing. Riverside County Superior Court Judge Judith Clark ruled Wednesday, after a preliminary hearing, to determine whether there was enough evidence to try the men.
Lance Cpl. Emrys John of Maryland; Lance Cpl. Tyrone Miller of North Carolina; Pvt. Kevin Cox of Tennessee; and Lance Cpl. Kesaun Sykes of California have pleaded not guilty to murder, robbery and rape. They will be re-arraigned on Aug. 26.
Two of the accused worked for Pietrzak, who was a helicopter airframe mechanic at Miramar Marine Corps Air Station in San Diego.
Pietrzak, who was born in Poland and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., joined the Marines in 2003 and served in Iraq from July 2005 to February 2006.
His mother, Henryka Pietrzak-Varga, told the New York Daily Newsthat she had prepared herself for the possibility of her son dying in Iraq.
"But to die like this, in their own home?" she said. "They were good kids. They didn't deserve to die like this."
John and Miller worked for Pietrzak. Miller said he forced his way into the home by pointing a shotgun at Pietrzak, according to an affidavit from a sheriff's investigator.
Miller said he and others went to Pietrzak's home to rob him, then tied up the couple and discussed with John whether to kill them.
The affidavit also said that shoes found at the barracks where Cox and John lived matched prints at the crime scene, and that items believed stolen from the house were found at Sykes' home.
John, who prosecutors believe shot the couple, also was charged with a special-circumstance allegation of using a firearm to inflict great bodily injury or death.
All were being held without bail.
"Marines are supposed to be brothers," Pietrzak's mother said. "What kind of brothers are these?"