NBC’s ‘Dateline‘ has been baffling us with harrowing true-crime tales concerning murders, mysteries, and missing people ever since its premiere in 1992. Each episode of this primetime newsmagazine delves deep into the cases it profiles, giving us an unparalleled look into every aspect of what transpired and why. So, of course, its episode ‘Secrets in Silver Lakes,’ chronicling the homicide of Robert Limon, is no different. In a matter involving an unhappy marriage, infidelities, jealousy, lies, and religion, this case has it all. And now, if you’re here curious to know all its nitty-gritty details, we’ve got you covered.
How Did Robert Limon Die?
By all accounts, Robert Limon was a very outgoing and friendly person. Wherever he went, he became the life of the party. So it was no surprise when he married a woman who matched his charm and compassion in every way: Sabrina Limon. The couple subsequently moved to Strawberry Lane in Silver Lakes, where they became parents of two children and had what seemed to be an idyllic life. As Christians and working parents with good social manners, the couple was admired in their community for all they did. But that all changed in 2014 in ways no one could have ever expected or imagined.
Even though Robert dreamt of being a firefighter, he was happy with his mechanic job with a local railroad company. Unfortunately, it was there that he lost his life. On August 17, 2014, Robert was alone in the facility in Tehachapi, California, about 85 miles from his home, when he was ambushed and gunned down. His autopsy later confirmed that he was shot twice with a large caliber gun, with the second bullet going straight to his head, killing him instantly. When the authorities first arrived at the scene, they thought it was a robbery gone wrong, but that was not at all the case.
Who Killed Robert Limon?
With Robert Limon’s body being discovered on the warehouse floor, which had been left in shambles, the investigators first looked at robbery as the motive. But because every lead turned into a dead-end, they soon began deliberating other aspects as well. Thus, once the police got the security footage from the industrial park surrounding the railroad, they put all their focus there, only to finally be able to identify a shady motorcyclist as their suspect. And when that got combined with their discovery of the Limon couple’s open relationship and swinging lifestyle, things took a turn.
Upon looking further into Robert and his wife Sabrina’s personal lives, officers uncovered the latter’s relationship with Jonathan Hearn, a 24-year-old religious firefighter. A search of Jonathan’s phone records then revealed thousands of text messages and calls from him to Sabrina, which confirmed their romance. However, the strange part here was that Jonathan’s phone wasn’t used on the day of Robert’s slaying, which was very unusual for him. So, because the suspicious motorcyclists’ built matched Jonathan’s, the police took a risk and tapped their phones.
Although Jonathan and Sabrina made no overtly incriminating statements during their phone calls, they did act very strange, talking in bible verses and making it clear that they were in cahoots. In fact, when Sabrina said that a detective wanted to speak to her about her husband’s murder, Jonathan replied with “God, please help us just to be wise. Help Sabrina to have the right words. Please keep her calm. I ask you for clarity of thought.” Later, when Sabrina told him about possible DNA evidence and the motorcyclist, Jonathan recited a similar prayer for his freedom.
By that time, investigating officers already knew that Jonathan owned a motorcycle similar to the one seen in the security footage near the crime scene. Therefore, on November 18, 2014, both Sabrina Limon and Jonathan Hearn were arrested for the murder of Robert Limon. However, because of insufficient evidence against the former, the charges against her were dropped. Jonathan, though, was positively identified as the gunman as a search of his home and workplace yielded several items that connected him to Robert’s killing, including many large caliber firearms.
In late November, Jonathan pleaded not guilty and was held until trial. More than two years later, though, on January 6, 2017, just a couple of days before his court appearance for the charge against him, Jonathan turned on his girlfriend and agreed to confess. He revealed that Sabrina was the one who wanted Robert dead because divorce was not an option for her, claiming that it would destroy her social standing. In the end, while Jonathan pleaded guilty to a lesser count, his testimony helped a jury convict and sentence Sabrina for her husband’s first-degree murder.
Subsequently, the court handed Jonathan a total prison sentence of 25 years and four months with credit for time served in 2017, while Sabrina was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison in 2018. As things currently stand, Jonathan is spending his days behind bars at the Ironwood State Prison in Blythe, California, with a parole eligibility date of 2028. On the other hand, Sabrina refused to accept her sentence and instead filed a petition to get her conviction overturned. Hence, a trial court reviewed the evidence as well as the case file, before upholding the original conviction in 2022. Disappointed with the outcome, Sabrina then took her petition to the supreme court in the hopes of winning a retrial. However, reports in January 2023 mentioned that the California Supreme Court had denied her petition for a review. Thus, Sabrina Limon is currently incarcerated at the California Institution for Women in Chino, California, and will be eligible for parole in 2033.