What Happened to Rob Limon? Silver Lakes, California, Murder Featured on 'Dateline'

In its winding, salacious style, NBC unravels a sin-proves-to-be-sexy episode of Dateline on the circuitous murder of Robert Limon, 38, a well-liked, hardworking man found shot twice in 2014 at the train yard where he labored.

"It was true: Big Rob Limon, the nicest guy in the world, had been shot to death in the head at work," says narrator Josh Mankiewicz as close family friends of Limon's and wife Sabrina reacted in utter shock to his seemingly senseless murder in his workshop in Tehachapi, California.

First, Mankiewicz sets up the murder mystery in a descriptive introduction to the Secrets in Silver Lakes episode, which airs Friday at 9 p.m. EST. "Trackless, dry and desolate: the Mojave Desert fits almost no one's image about the California lifestyle, unless, that is, you stumble upon this little oasis: Silver Lakes, a community of 5,000, improbably built in the desert, on the water. The lakes are artificial, of course. The houses look solid enough: stucco and red tile, along with churches, golf courses and parks for the kids.

"Wholesome, anywhere Main Street USA, but what if that's a mirage too? Turns out, behind some of these doors there are secrets: about religion, about friendship, about sex and about murder," Mankiewicz says.

As revealed through close friends Jason and KellyBernatene and Detective Robert Meyer of the Kern County Sheriff's Department, the episode thread follows the hidden lives of a young family that looked perfect from the outside in the idyllic family community located in Helendale, California.

"It had everything: it had sex, religion, the seemingly perfect beautiful family that had all these secrets," said Olivia LaVoice of KGET in Bakersfield, which streamed live the trial of Sabrina and her lover Jonathan Hearn in 2017, a few years after investigators followed red herrings before landing upon solid evidence.

Eventually, though, Meyer employed legal ruses over the telephone to fool Sabrina and Hearn into near confessions of guilt, implicating them in the murder of Rob.

Through wiretaps and by feeding the two suspects false stories about the status of the case at the time, Meyer eventually arrested Hearn in the murder but soon released Sabrina for an initial lack of evidence.

Finally, after uncovering more evidence, Meyer arrested Sabrina a second time in her new residence 100 miles away from Silver Lakes, where she and her surviving children were shunned following the unsolved murder.

"She was confused because she was scheduled to testify in the trial of Jonathan Hearn," Meyer told Mankiewicz.

Instead, she became a defendant charged in the murder of her husband, who by all accounts was a big, strong, lovable family man who provided well for his wife and their two young children.

Hearn's sister, identified as Nicole, maintained her brother's innocence, given that he came from a close-knit, very religious family. Hearn had been home-schooled and became a firefighter alongside his friend Jason Bernatene, who came to suspect Hearn all along.

"I felt like it was so surreal when I heard it, I was shaken to my core," Nicole told Mankiewicz.

Sabrina's older sister, identified as Julie Cordova, maintained her sister's innocence as well and helped her cope after Rob's sudden death.

In the 2017 trial, Hearn took a plea deal and finally admitted to firing the gun. He said that Sabrina helped him plan the murder. To avoid being sentenced to life without parole, Hearn agreed to turn on his former lover in court.

All along, the Bernatenes, formerly very close friends with the Limons and their circle, thought Sabrina was guilty. Before Hearn and Sabrina were arrested, Hearn had confessed to Jason Bernatene in a very cryptic way via a phone message, saying that he needed to apologize and get right with God. The Bernatenes knew about the illicit love affair.

"If we knew that she was behind this, what do we do?" Kelly Bernatene said to Mankiewicz.

Intriguingly, the Dateline episode generously shares with viewers several wiretapped conversations between Hearn and Sabrina in which we see that God and religion play a major role in their relationship. Hearn likened himself to David in the Old Testament, who fell in love with Bathsheba, a married woman.

But the trial is where the biblical story splits from real life, as David did not turn in Bathsheba in return for a reduced sentence.

Ultimately, Sabrina was sentenced to 25 years in prison on February 21 for the murder of her husband. Hearn will serve about the same amount of time behind bars, according to Bakersfield.com, after testifying that he and Sabrina conspired to kill Rob.

"No amount of time Sabrina spends in prison will ever bring my brother back," Lydia Marrero, Rob's sister, told the court during an emotional hearing before Sabrina was sentenced, according to Bakersfield.com.

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