[CW: The following story discusses alleged domestic abuse, harassment, and murder]
Cedric Marks, a veteran of over 50 MMA fights, is currently awaiting trial on two counts of homicide. Marks is accused of killing his former girlfriend Jenna Scott and her friend Michael Swearingin, who were both found in shallow graves near Clearview, OK in January 2019.
Marks risks the possibility of a death sentence if found guilty of these murders. Despite that, Marks has decided to represent himself at trial.
Marks was in court this week for a pretrial hearing. According to KCENTV Marks argued with prosecutors over a number of issues relating to the case and unsuccessfully attempted to have his trial delayed. The trial remains set for June 13.
Yesterday Marks appeared in front of Judge Steve Duskie in the 426th District Court in Belton, TX. Among the items Marks raised with the judge was his desires to subpoena a company for phone call records and to secure a court-appointed investigator. Duskie informed Marks that he was already free to do these things.
Marks also asked the judge for copies of evidence that prosecutors secured during their discovery phase. Prosecutors argued that Marks could be shown the evidence, but he is not entitled to copies of that evidence.
Prosecutors pointed to state legislation that says that defendants representing themselves do not have a right to duplications of evidence. Duskie sided with the prosecutors on this issue.
Marks and the prosecutors also argued over Marks’ fingerprints, with the state claiming that Marks provided only his palm print and not his fingerprints on two separate occasions. Marks claimed he did this because he was worried about his fingerprints being planted somewhere. Marks did not elaborate on this concern when asked.
Marks was indicted for the homicides of Scott and Swearingin after their bodies were found around a property belonging to one of Marks’ family members. When Scott and Swearingin’s bodies were discovered Marks had already been arrested, in Michigan, on suspicion of burglarizing Scott’s home in Temple, TX and interfering with a 911 call.
That incident happened after a judge refused to grant Scott a protective order against Marks. In her application she claimed that Marks had threatened to kill her and her family members and had repeatedly choked her unconscious. She also claimed that Marks had bragged about knowing how to get away with murder.
When Marks was being transported from Michigan to Texas he escaped police custody and lead sheriff’s deputies on a nine-hour manhunt. He was eventually discovered hiding in a trash can.
In Michigan Marks was arrested alongside his girlfriend Maya Maxwell. Maxwell, who has given birth to Marks’ child while in jail, has also been charged in relation to the killings of Scott and Swearingin.
Maxwell has reportedly told investigators that she witnessed Marks enter rooms containing both Scott and Swearingin and that both victim were alive when he entered and deceased when he left.
In addition to being charged with the murders of Scott and Swearingin, Marks is also charged with the murder of April Pease, a former girlfriend who went missing from a women’s shelter in Bloomington, MN after a contentious custody battle with Marks.
Investigators believe that Cedric Marks and another one of his girlfriends, Kellee Sorensen, abducted Pease in 2009 and killed her in an unknown location. Pease’s body has never been found.
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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