Hearn Pleads In Limon Murder, Turns State’s Evidence Against Victim’s Widow

The case that grew out of the August 17, 2014 murder of Robert Limon late last week rebounded to where it began, with his widow now being charged as an accomplice in her husband’s death.
Robert Limon’s body was found that day at the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway industrial complex at 1528 Goodrick Drive in Tehachapi. The 38-year-old had been last seen by coworkers after leaving fieldwork about 5 p.m. He had been shot twice in the head.
Video surveillance of the railroad yard captured the images of a man later identified as Jonathan Michael Hearn, a 24-year-old firefighter with the Redlands Fire Department, fleeing the building in the minutes after the shooting of the 38-year-old Limon. Shortly thereafter, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Limon’s killer.
In relatively short order, suspicion with regard to Hearn’s involvement in the death evolved. Even before Limon was killed, another couple, Jason and Kelly Bernatene, who were quite close to Robert Limon and his wife Sabrina, had noted the presence of Hearn in the Limons’ lives, and after Robert Limon’s death told investigators they felt “creepy” about him.
Despite being fourteen years younger than Robert Limon and 11 years younger than Sabrina Limon, Hearn had befriended the couple, who had a son and a daughter.
As a teenager, Hearn was precocious, taking firefighting and emergency medical technician courses at Victor Valley College while he was yet a student at Arrow Christian High School in Hesperia. Even before he reached the age of majority Hearn had signed on as a
San Bernardino County Fire Department explorer in Hesperia. Having received his national emergency medical technician certification and diploma from a firefighter academy, Hearn was hired as a firefighter with the Redlands Fire Department when he was 21.
It is not clear how the Limons, who lived in Helendale, first came into contact with Hearn, who lived in Hesperia, although based upon some evidence presented to the court, it appears Hearn may have been introduced to the Limons by Jason Bernatene. Jason Bernatene was impressed with young Hearn’s relatively advanced professional progress, saying he considered Hearn to be one of the smartest people he knew. But something about his relationship with the Limons bothered him, and he confided to his wife, who was close to Sabrina Limon that the entire circumstance gave him “a weird feeling.” In time, his suspicions solidified and he confronted Hearn on two occasions about his relationship with Sabrina, either implying, or directly questioning whether, the two were having an affair. Hearn became angered at Bernatene’s intrusion. When Bernatene stated that Hearn should end the affair with Bernatene’s best friend’s wife, Hearn, Bernatene said, “ranted” but went no further than acknowledging that he had once kissed Sabrina.
Several weeks after Robert’s death, Sabrina Limon posted onto her Facebook page a remembrance of her husband, stating he was “an amazing man” who would “never be forgotten. Through this pain and unbelievable tragedy, Rob’s love continues on. God blessed us with Rob for the time he did, and the love he gave was more than some ever will feel or show. I will carry it with me where ever I go, and remind our children of it daily as they grow. It’s a feeling of joy, yet I’m totally numb to the fact that I’m left on earth now without him.”
During that interim, however, Kern County investigators were intently focusing on the apparent relationship between Hearn and Sabrina, which apparently was going on without Robert’s knowledge or consent. Detectives would tally a number of text messages that passed between them numbering over 2,000. Jason Bernatene also provided the investigators with a letter in which Hearn essentially expressed remorse to Bernatene for having manipulated him to get close to Sabrina. In the letter, Hearn refers to “my mistakes… having such horrible and dangerous consequences.”
One piece of evidence suggestive of Hearn’s guilt consisted of recorded phone conversations and text messages between Sabrina Limon and Hearn. At one point in one of the exchanges, Hearn stated, “You and I will be in eternity together and all this will seem like nothing. And hopefully in two or three years all of this will be done and over with…”
In another exchange between Hearn and Sabrina Limon, Hearn told Limon they could live together once her husband was out of the picture.
The final critical element that led investigators to conclude that Hearn and Sabrina Limon were involved in killing Robert Limon consisted of communication between the two in which Sabrina provided Hearn with information about where her husband was working and his schedule on August 17, 2014, the day of the killing. Detectives put all of that information in a probable cause declaration and obtained an arrest warrant for both.
On November 18, 2014, Hearn was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in Robert Limon’s killing and Sabrina Limon was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder and being an accessory to murder.
The Kern County District Attorney’s Office backed the sheriff’s department on the Hearn arrest, and at his arraignment two days later, were able to convince the judge hearing the case to hold him without bail. Penultimately, however, prosecutors at that time were unwilling to file charges against Sabrina Limon, due to insufficient evidence. They asked detectives working the case to conduct a further investigation that might turn up evidence that would lead to the filing of charges against her. In the meantime, she was released.
At Hearn’s preliminary hearing on July 23 & 24, 2015, Kern County Deputy District Attorney David McKillop plied Bakersfield Superior Court Judge Charles Brehmer with 40 separate pieces of evidence to support his theory that Hearn and Sabrina Limon were having an affair, which created the motive for Hearn to kill Robert Limon. McKillop’s evidence in part consisted of photos of Sabrina Limon found at Hearn’s home, videos, recorded phone conversations and text messages, letters, guns found at Hearn’s home, a nylon case found in Hearn’s truck containing ammunition and money, and a motorcycle McKillop suggested Hearn rode to the railroad yard to partake in Limon’s killing. McKillop said Hearn disposed of evidence, which investigators were able to recover. Noting that the case against Hearn was largely circumstantial, Brehmer, nonetheless bound Hearn over for trial the following month. The trial was delayed 17 months, during which time, McKillop was no longer handling the case. The matter was scheduled to go to trial this week, on January 9.
Quietly, Hearn last week arrived at the terms of a plea arrangement with the deputy district attorney handling the matter, Eric Smith. Under the terms of that deal, Hearn, now 26, agreed to testify against Sabrina Limon, who is now being charged with conspiracy to commit murder, being an accessory to murder and poisoning her husband prior to his death. In exchange for his testimony, the district attorney’s office vacated the charge of first degree murder against him and he agreed to enter a plea of voluntary manslaughter, attempted murder and poisoning, for which he would be given a 25 year and four month prison sentence.
On Friday, January 6, Sabrina Limon was rearrested with regard to the death of her husband at her residence in the 3300 block of Ivy Garden Court in Camarillo and was charged with murder, attempted murder, solicitation to commit murder, accessory, conspiring to commit a crime and poisoning her husband. She was held on $3 million bail.
Based on elliptical statements made by both prosecutors and Judge Charles R. Brehmer, and the charges filed against her, there are indications investigators and prosecutors have grounds to believe Sabrina Limon poisoned her husband in March 2014 in what was an unsuccessful attempt on his life.
On Monday, January 9, Hearn came before Judge Brehmer, and entered his plea in accordance with the deal worked out with Smith.
Limon was arraigned on January 9, at which time she entered a not guilty plea. Her bail remains at $3 million.

Leave a Reply