BELTON — The attorney for Cedric Marks’ felony burglary case officially withdrew from his case Thursday morning during a special hearing.
Marks, 44, of Killeen, is charged with the capital murder of multiple persons and burglary of a habitation with intent to commit other felony, a first-degree felony.
He’s charged with the Jan. 3 homicides of Jenna Scott, 28, and Michael Swearingin, 32, both of Temple.
Killeen attorney Mary Beth Harrell represented Marks until the Thursday hearing. Harrell was not court-appointed and filed the motion to withdraw from the case because she said she “couldn’t effectively represent her client.”
Harrell’s motion was addressed Thursday morning in Bell County’s 426th District Court with Judge Fancy Jezek officiating.
Harrell told Jezek it was best if Marks was represented by Michael White, a local attorney who already was assigned to represent Marks in the capital murder case and in the misdemeanor cases because they were all connected to the same alleged victim — Jenna Scott.
In what appeared to be a surprising move, Marks told Jezek he objected to Harrell’s withdrawal, which drew a sharp, surprised look from Harrell.
His reasons were Harrell “knows almost the whole case since September” and he’d feel better if he was represented by her. Marks said this was his first time to be in court with her and he’d already invested almost $10,000 in her. He also told Jezek he had documents for Harrell.
Harrell expressed surprise and said somehow what Marks agreed to Wednesday night during a meeting at the Bell County Jail “went up in smoke.”
Harrell said she met with Marks a total of three times in jail; the last time was Wednesday.
“And he doesn’t have $10,000 paid to me,” Harrell said in court. She revealed the bulk of the fees paid to her were by a “third party.”
Jezek appointed White despite Marks’ objections.
Harrell’s only comment to the Telegram after the hearing was, “I don’t talk to the press.”
Jezek asked to speak privately to White and Mike Waldman, the state’s prosecuting attorney, in her chambers. After the meeting, White agreed to speak with the Telegram.
The Bell County District Attorney’s office hasn’t decided yet if the death penalty will be sought, White said.
“It’s my belief they will (go for the death penalty) based on facts and circumstances,” White said.
White expects a Bell County grand jury will indict Marks next week for capital murder, he said.
Scott’s family talks
Two members of Jenna’s family were at the hearing — her brother, Talon Scott, and a cousin, Aaron Zumpf. They drove from Colorado to be there.
He didn’t know Jenna very well, Zumpf said, but added she was always calm and quiet.
Marks’ demeanor and stature when he came into the courtroom were unexpected for Zumpf, as was Marks’ higher-pitched voice, he said.
Talon and Zumpf were in Bell County when the bodies of Scott and Michael Swearingin, her friend, were found near Clearview, Okla.
Jenna prepared the entire family for the possibility that Marks would kill her, Talon said, and Jenna’s father had already accepted that Jenna was dead when she went missing, Zumpf added. She even told her daughter she might not be there because of Marks.
“It’s good that I was there when my dad got the call,” Talon said. “Jenna had already been fearing for her life.”
Talon and Zumpf also believe something more than strangulation happened at Michael’s home in Temple because of evidence that was found there.
“It wasn’t just strangulation,” Talon said. “He got what he wanted. He was so selfish and controlling.”
Marks spent a lot of time at the Scott home, Talon said. He stayed the night at Marks’ home a lot and played with his children.
“The whole time he was toying with Jenna. That’s what he does,” he said.