MMA fighter Cedric Marks to represent himself in double capital murder trial

[CW: The following story discusses alleged domestic abuse, harassment, and murder] Veteran MMA fighter Cedric Marks, 45, was charged with two counts of capital murder…

By: Tim Bissell | 3 years
MMA fighter Cedric Marks to represent himself in double capital murder trial
Cedric Marks is accused of murdering Jenna Scott and Michael Swearingin in 2018.

[CW: The following story discusses alleged domestic abuse, harassment, and murder]

Veteran MMA fighter Cedric Marks, 45, was charged with two counts of capital murder in 2019. Authorities allege that Marks abducted and killed his ex-girlfriend Jenna Scott and her friend Michael Swearingin and buried them in shallow graves outside of Clearview, OK.

Marks is currently standing trial for those murders with the death penalty a possibility if he is found guilty. At the 436th District Court in Bell County, TX Marks has been granted permission to represent himself in the case (per KCENTV).

Marks made his request to represent himself in June. Judge Steve Duskie ordered that Marks meet with different counsel and then determine if he wished to proceed with his plans. Duskie ultimately granted Marks’ request on August 17.

This is not the first time Marks has represented himself in court. In 2018 he successfully argued against a protective order that Scott filed against him. Scott was denied a two-year protective order by Judge Paul LePak despite her claims that Scott had choked her unconscious on repeated occasions, threatened to kill her and her family and bragged that he knew how to kill people and get away with it.

A month after the protective order was dismissed Marks allegedly broke into Scott’s home in Temple, TX. During that break-in Marks is accused of threatening Scott’s life and prevented Scott and her daughter from making a 911 call.

An arrest warrant was issued for Marks after this incident. While police searched for Marks, Scott and Swearingin were reported missing.

Cedric Marks escaped police custody

Cedric Marks was arrested in Grand Rapids, MI. While Marks was in custody the bodies of Scott and Swearingin were discovered on property belonging to Marks’ family. Marks was then transported from Michigan to Texas.

During that journey, in a McDonald’s parking lot in Montgomery County, TX, Marks escaped his prison transport vehicle and lead the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department on a nine hour manhunt. Sheriff’s deputies eventually discovered Marks hiding in a trash can.

Shortly after he was recaptured, Marks was charged with two counts of capital murder.

Marks’ wife Ginell McDonough and his girlfriend Maya Maxwell were both arrested in Michigan along with Marks. McDonough admitted to sheltering Marks and Maxwell. However all charges of aiding Marks were dismissed after the prosecutor’s office deemed she had been victimized by Marks.

Maxwell, who gave birth to a child fathered by Marks in prison, is also charged with capital murder. She is accused of helping Marks bury Scott and Swearingin’s bodies and hiding Swearingin’s vehicle from police. During interrogation Maxwell reportedly told investigators that she witnessed Marks enter rooms which held Scott and Swearingin and that each was alive before Marks entered the room and were deceased when he left them.

Cedric Marks has been charged over a separate murder

In addition to being suspected of killing both Scott and Swearingin, Cedric Marks has also been charged with the unrelated 2009 disappearance and murder of April Pease. Authorities in Bloomington, MN believe Marks murdered Pease, the mother to one of his children, before removing her teeth and hands to render her unidentifiable. Pease’s body was never recovered.

Kellee Kristine Sorenson, another ex-girlfriend to Marks, claimed she helped Marks kill Pease. Sorenson has been charged with second-degree murder in this case and is awaiting trial.

There is no date currently set for Marks’ trial in the Scott and Swearingin case.

Support for survivors of domestic violence can be found from the following organizations:

USA – The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

Canada – DAWN-RAFH Canada

UK and Ireland – Women’s Aid: 0808-2000-247

Rest of the World – HotPeachPages

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About the author
Tim Bissell
Tim Bissell

Tim Bissell is a writer, editor and deputy site manager for Bloody Elbow. He has covered combat sports since 2015, but has been watching since the early 2000s. Tim covers news and events and has also written longform and investigative pieces. Among Tim's specialties are the intersections between crime and combat sports. Tim has also covered head trauma, concussions and CTE in great detail.

Tim is also BE's lead (only) sumo reporter. He blogs about that sport here and on his own substack, Sumo Stomp!

Tim is currently a social worker in training.

Email me at [email protected]. Nice messages will get a response.

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