MMA fighter Cedric Marks given death penalty for double homicide

Cedric Marks received the death sentence for murdering Jenna Scott and Michael Swearingin. He is also charged with the murder of April Pease.

By: Tim Bissell | 4 months ago
MMA fighter Cedric Marks given death penalty for double homicide

Veteran MMA fighter Cedric Marks was sentenced to death for the killings of Jenna Scott and Michael Swearingin last week in Texas (per Killeen Daily Herald). A Bell County jury ruled in favour of the death penalty, over life in prison, after a bizarre final day in Marks’ sentencing hearing.

Cedric Marks has represented himself at trial

During the sentencing hearing Cedric Marks, who has represented himself throughout his double-homicide trial, told the jury that they should sentence him to death over the killings of Scott and Swearingin. However, Marks continued to state that he was not directly responsible for their deaths.

Marks also claimed he has tested positive for terminal colon cancer and would rather be executed than die from cancer. Prosecutors could not confirm this story and told the jury that Marks had skipped a recent doctor’s appointment.

During the hearing Marks continued to shift blame onto his former girlfriend Maya Maxwell, claiming she and an unnamed partner killed Scott and Swearingin. Maxwell testified against Marks at trial and provided key witness testimony that resulted in Marks’ conviction.

The violent history of Cedric Marks – KHOU 11

Marks was convicted of two counts of murder

The court found Cedric Marks guilty of killing his former girlfriend Jenna Scott and her friend Michael Swearingin after Maya Maxwell, who was arrested along with Marks in Michigan after Scott and Swearingin were declared missing, said she witnessed Marks entering and leaving rooms that held Scott and Swearingin. Maxwell said that both victims were alive when Marks entered and deceased when he left.

Maxwell, who was pregnant with Marks’ child when she was arrested, admitted to hiding Swearingin’s vehicle to impede the investigation into Marks.

Scott and Swearingin’s bodies were found in shallow graves in Oklahoma, on property connected to Marks’ familiy.

Marks is charged with an unrelated murder

Authorities in Minnesota have charged Cedric Marks with the murder of April Pease. Pease is another former girlfriend of Marks. Pease went missing from a woman’s shelter, leaving her child (fathered by Marks) behind, in 2009.

Another former girlfriend of Marks has told police that she helped Marks abduct Pease from outside the shelter. Kellee Kristine Sorenson said she dropped Pease and Marks’ child back at the shelter before they took Pease to another location. Sorenson said that Marks took Pease out of sight and returned alone. Pease’s body had not been discovered.

Marks is a ‘psychopath’ claims jury member

Members of the jury have spoken to the press about Cedric Marks, claiming they believe he may be responsible for further killings.

“I believe he’s a psychopath, I believe he’s narcissistic, and I believe he’s manipulative,” jury foreperson Zachary Gauthier said (per KCENTV).

A juror who remained anonymous agreed with Gauthier and described an incident that happened at trial between Marks and his former wife Ginell McDonough.

“You saw that with Ginell McDonough when he called her back to the stand and his final question to her was, ‘Tell the jury something about me.’ she said, ‘Well, you’re a loving father, you care about your kids, and I have no doubt that that’s true, but I’m starting to realize that some of it was probably manipulation.’ His face said it all in that moment, that he finally lost his grip on all the women that he thought he had his grip on. He lost all his power in that moment. I think that was the moment he decided to testify for himself, and again, we did not allow him to manipulate us as the jurors.”

Gauthier also discussed a phone call recording, between Marks and Scott as more evidence for why he was comfortable with both the guilty verdict and the death penalty sentence.

“Jenna is yelling at Marks saying, ‘You tried to kill me,’ when Cedric put her in a chokehold intentionally or unintentionally. She said, ‘You almost killed me,’ and then his response was, ‘Well, what are you talking about? I didn’t almost try to kill you.’ She’s like, ‘Well, you’re a violent murderer.’ Again, he goes, ‘Well, what are you talking about’ She responds with, ‘You told me you’ve killed six or seven people.’ That really kind of clicked with me…

“I’m fairly confident that Cedric Marks is, in my opinion, probably a serial killer, and I’m thankful that he will not be able to hurt anybody else from this point forward. I hope that some of his other victims at some point, get some kind of justice or closure. Even if that only comes by way of knowing that he can’t hurt anybody else, because of the verdict that we came to, in this case.”

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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. 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!

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