BELTON — The Bell County District Attorney’s office will seek the death penalty for Cedric Marks if he is convicted.
“We have filed with the district clerk our notice that we will seek the death penalty in the Cedric Marks case, in connection with the murders of Michael Swearingin and Jenna Scott,” Bell County District Attorney Henry Garza confirmed Monday.
Marks was charged and indicted for the Jan. 3 violent homicides of Scott, 28, and Swearingin, 32, who were friends. Marks was Scott’s ex-boyfriend.
Swearingin’s mother, Deborah Harrison, said she wasn’t aware Monday of the decision made by the district attorney’s office until she was contacted by the Telegram. Harrison asked the Telegram to disclose the information.
“Figured they would. That’s what both families wanted,” Harrison said after being told about the death penalty. “He’s already lived too long because he’s lived longer than Jenna and Michael.”
Harrison added, “We didn’t know they were missing until after they were dead.”
Scott’s parents, Jonathan and Karen Scott, weren’t aware of the decision Monday.
The families met a few weeks ago with the district attorney’s office to discuss issues about the case, Jonathan Scott said.
Michael White, one of Marks’ attorneys, briefly talked about Marks’ reaction when he was told Bell County’s intention.
“As his attorney, I had advised Cedric that the state would pursue death in his case at the beginning,” White said. “He was not surprised and is anticipating his day in court when his story is told.”
Garza was questioned several times by the Telegram about whether the death penalty would be sought in this case, and always said, “We will file the announcement in due course.”
The filed notice said that the state of Texas intends to seek the death penalty in the capital murder case. The paperwork was addressed to the 426th District Court by Garza and signed by Assistant District Attorney Michael Waldman, who will prosecute Marks.
The notice was sent to Alexander Calhoun, one of Marks’ other attorneys from the Regional Public Defenders for Capital Cases office. Calhoun, White and Robert Cowie make up Marks’ defense team.
Other changes against Marks
Marks is also accused of tampering with evidence, burglary of a habitation with intent of another felony and several misdemeanor cases.
Also charged with capital murder of multiple persons in the deaths of the friends and tampering with evidence was Maya Maxwell, Marks’ girlfriend. An arrest affidavit said on Jan. 3 that Maxwell helped Marks hide Swearingin’s car in Austin, helped him transport Swearingin and Scott to a residence in Killeen and was in the residence while Marks reportedly killed them. Maxwell’s statement said she helped Marks take the two bodies to Clearview, Okla., where they were put in a shallow grave.
The pretrial hearing for Marks is set for 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 29.
Marks loudly proclaimed his innocence in May in Judge Fancy Jezek’s courtroom.
“Absolutely not guilty, your honor,” was how a shackled and cuffed Marks answered Jezek’s inquiry of how he pleaded to the charge of capital murder of multiple persons.
Marks claims he wasn’t there when Scott and Swearingin were killed. He said someone else was with Maxwell when their lives were snuffed out.
He also said he wasn’t guilty of any of the other charges against him during his arraignment.
If convicted of one or all of the felony charges against him, each sentence will be enhanced because of his previous felony conviction, Jezek informed Marks.