Belton, Tx (FOX44) – UPDATE: The jury has given Cedric Marks the death sentence for killing Jenna Scott and Michael Swearingin. The jury made the decision after only a few hours of deliberation.
As the fifth day of testimony in the punishment phase of the Cedric Marks Capital Murder Trial got underway, Marks’ sister, Darlena Marks Simmons testified in the morning. Darlena said she’s voluntarily testifying because she loves her baby brother. Darlena described Marks as protective, having a calm demeanor, being a great father.
Marks-Simmons said this is the most heartbreaking thing for their family and are in shock. Marks-Simmons said she doesn’t want Cedric to be a political pawn and doesn’t believe in the death penalty. Darlena recommended life without parole and said whoever did this should be held accountable.
The prosecution brought forth two officers who had arrested Marks as rebuttal witnesses, testifying regarding his prior bad acts before resting its case.
Closing arguments and victim impact statements were to follow
In Thursday’s testimony, Bell County’s 426th District Court heard shocking new revelations as Cedric Marks finished his direct testimony in his capital murder trial on Thursday, June 8.
Not listening to his attorneys, Marks admitted he lied to the jury and they were right to find him guilty.
The courtroom heard as Marks confirmed he is absolutely responsible in the deaths of Jenna Scott and Michael Swearingin.
In testimony, Marks says Maxwell and one of her exes abducted and killed Michael and Jenna in an abandoned home right behind where Michael lived.
Marks said he didn’t know Maxwell did any of this until January 4, 2019 when he saw their bodies in Rebecca Adney’s garage.
Seeing this, Marks said he helped Maxwell put Jenna and Michael in his car to then bury them in Oklahoma.
Marks testified to Scott and Swearingen’s family and friends he was meant to be on trial for doing this and other past actions in his life, but restated he’s not the killer.
Bell County District Attorney, Henry Garza objected to Marks’ testimony asking if Marks was physically there with Maxwell to provide this testimony.
Marks told Garza he was afraid of the truth knowing Maxwell is responsible for their deaths and hopes the truth blows up in his face.
Marks then said to Jenna & Michael’s family, “You need to know a stranger killed your son and Maxwell killed your daughter.”
Marks was then escorted outside the courtroom for recess.
After recess, the courtroom was left speechless and stunned as Cedric Marks requested the jury to give him the death penalty after explaining how he is responsible in the deaths of Jenna Scott and Michael Swearingin.
Marks confessed he’s had colon cancer for the last year not taking medication because he’s ready to go.
Marks said he cleaned up a mess he lied about. He lied in his police interviews, and should receive the hardest sentence possible.
In reflection, Marks said to do it for the Scott and Harrison families to give them resolution.
For Adrian and Logan — Marks said he needs to be on death row so his sons don’t have to put their lives on hold.
If Marks isn’t put on death row, Marks said the community is going to pay taxes to keep him alive, and hopes it’s the quickest decision the jury makes.
In the end Marks said he loved Jenna and still loves her, and he’s sorry he didn’t get to know Michael.
Marks said he isn’t asking for the death penalty because he’s going down.
Marks said he’d be going down anyway with health issues.
However, Marks is certain there are two people accountable for killing Jenna and Michael and it’s not him.
In cross examination District Attorney Henry Garza said Marks is spreading a narrative to sway the jury and showed exhibits to refute Marks testimony.
Marks told Garza he did not kill April Pease and said Ginell McDonough lied in her testimony on this situation.
Marks said he hasn’t told anyone he’s killed others.
In regards to the dropping off Michael’s Hyundai Genesis, Marks said he didn’t drop it off.
At the end of cross examination Marks said he’d never want to hurt Jenna or allow anyone to put a hand on her.
Tomorrow, Marks will have his last witness testify and closing arguments will be held.
On Wednesday, June 7, Marks called two of his female acquaintances to speak on their relationships with him.
One of the acquaintances say Marks owes her $30,000.
After the break, Marks decided to testify himself and provide the jury his life story and details not mentioned in the trial.
Marks started his testimony saying, “The prosecution said a lot bet left out a lot. This is about justice and you should have the full picture.”
Marks did clarify he wasn’t testifying to plea to any charges.
Instead Marks was answering the challenge to speak up.
Marks explained to the jury his history in the justice system started at 7 years old when he was charged with arson.
Marks accepted his responsibility for putting himself in trouble as a child going to jail for armed robbery.
Outside of jail for armed robbery, Marks explained from his perspective why he was charged for disorderly conduct.
Enlisted in the military post 9/11, Marks explained why he was discharged from the Navy through his own choices.
Marks’ testimony over April Pease focused on his custody battle with her over Adrian.
Marks did admit he sent April an email saying he’d kill her.
Marks said the email was taken out of context and was sent to convey humor.
Marks started to cry when talking about first meeting Jenna and had to call for break.
After the break Marks claims Jenna confided in him about having bipolar personality disorder and how Jenna abused him.
Marks says he never abused Jenna, but said he stayed in the relationship thinking he deserved some of the conflict.
Marks will finish his testimony tomorrow and the prosecution will be able to cross examine Marks.
Marks is expected to finish his testimony tomorrow.
The prosecution will then be able to cross examine Marks on his testimony.
FOX 44’s Earl Stoudemire is following the trial on Twitter. You can see his updates here.
Charles Roberts testified on the morning of Tuesday, June 6 about how Marks broke his jaw while enlisted at Fort Hood in 2001. Roberts was in an intimate relationship with Sharon Baxter at the time, after she broke up with Marks. Marks broke into Sharon’s home to attack Roberts. Roberts testified he did press charges, but had to drop them for military relocation. Roberts did admit Marks came to his house before he moved, and was unsure how Marks found out where he lived.
Sharon Baxter testified after Roberts to confirm Marks broke into her home on February 5, 2001. Sharon said she was fearful in her relationship with Marks. Sharon said Marks choked her in their relationship, and stalked her after they broke up.
In cross examination, Marks asked Sharon whats she’s getting to lie in front of the jury. Sharon denied lying to the jury. Sharon said Marks claims of her were false and doesn’t recall ever hitting Marks or Ginell or allowing Marks to stay at her home in Texas.
Ginell McDonough came back to testify what she knew about April Pease. McDonough now confirmed in front of the jury Marks confessing to her he killed April. In McDonough’s direct examination, District Attorney Henry Garza started to play the video Marks left Ginell saying he was going to save Adrian and to take care of the boys.
Marks got mad for the video being played, saying the prosecution is trying to make him and Ginell squirm. Marks shouted with profanity to Judge Steve Duskie, “These are such disgusting people to make her stick to a lie she told and you’re helping them. Whether I’m put to death or not, this is a dirty system, dirty county, dirty people.” Judge Duskie immediately asked for Marks to be escorted outside hearing this.
Marks came back into the courtroom to ask to be excused while the video is played. The judge denied Marks request, saying he is representing himself and needs to be in the courtroom for all phases to accomplish this. Marks then demanded to be taken out the courtroom.
After recess, McDonough said Marks made his confession to her a few years after April went missing in 2009. Recounting Marks confession, McDonough said Marks and his former girlfriend Kelly Sorenson got Pease in Minnesota to kill her in an abandoned shack in North or South Dakota.
McDonough wasn’t certain as to how Pease was killed, but said via Marks confession, he made April’s body unidentifiable removing her hands and feet. When hearing this confession, McDonough said she was shocked and didn’t do anything. McDonough said she and Marks talked in between her last testimony about Marks wanting to remarry her. Ginell said she declined because she didn’t know fact from fiction with everything happening.
In Marks’ cross examination, Ginell said she remembers Marks being a good dad – but is starting to see some manipulation. Ginell then confirmed she and Marks won’t get back together. Ginell’s former boss, Sgt. Georgia Warrix, testified next hearing Marks verbally abuse Ginell.
Jonathan Scott delivered his emotional testimony saying Jenna’s death caused dramatic changes in their family. Jonathan shared how Jenna’s daughter, Emory, struggles without having her mom be at games and award ceremonies. Johnathan said it also left a huge void in Jenna’s brother’s life.
In Jenna’s last living moments, Jonathan said Jenna was fearful, but didn’t want fear to control her life. If Jenna was still alive, Jonathan said Jenna probably would have been married, had kids, and worked as a counselor. On the overall trial, Jonathan said it has been long and stressful but needed to heal and move forward. Jonathan finished off to say Jenna wanted to use her past, with some rough spots, to help others.
Michael’s mother, Deborah Harrison, said his death has been devastating and gut-wrenching for their family. Harrison says she has experienced debilitating health problems alongside other family members, some even passing away from grief and depression. In reference to Michael, Harrison said everybody was friends with Michael and everybody loved him but Cedric Marks. In reference to Marks, Harrison said, “He always talks about his kids. What about my child? We’ve lost our children? Think about how that feels Marks. I will never have grandkids.”
Harrison said the trial has been debilitating for her and Michael’s grandparents but made it through the trial by the grace of God. At the end, Harrison said she would hurt until the day she sees Michael in Heaven and believes Marks should be on death row.
With Marks now defending himself, he called Maxwell to testify again. Marks went back and forth with Maxwell, saying he wasn’t going to sacrifice himself for her anymore. Marks claimed Maxwell and one of her ex-boyfriends abducted Michael Swearingin and Jenna Scott to drag Marks himself into the situation. Maxwell tearfully denied these claims as Marks was sustained for badgering his witness.
In cross examination with the prosecution, Maxwell also confirmed in front of the jury Marks confessing to her about how he killed April Pease. Maxwell said Marks was euphoric in sharing the details as if he was bragging about cutting up April’s body. In direct re-examination, Marks said he doesn’t care what happens to him as long as Maxwell is held responsible too.
On Monday, June 5, the jury could then decide if they want to recommend Marks for life in prison or the death penalty.
A Bloomington, Minnesota detective was the first witness to speak on the morning of June 5. Marks asked for a mistrial and wanted to deny evidence being admitted, but was overruled.
The court heard both videos Marks recorded to his son Adrian, and his wife Ginell McDonough, in relation to the disappearance of April Pease. In Adrian’s tape, Marks said April is a terrible mother, and Marks was coming to save him. Marks said he’d be leaving to do something that can put him in prison for the rest of his life or kill him.
Marks said he has been a bad person in the past, but admits he’s not a person to allow a child to get hurt. He said that if he failed, he at least succeeded in freeing Adrian.
Marks told Ginell in the second video to take care of the boys in case he doesn’t return. He was open to Ginell finding another partner not like Marks – claiming it would be drama for Ginell, like Marks himself.
Marks told Ginell to one day play the video for Adrian and said he didn’t mind if his sons hated him as long as they grew up to be good adults. When detectives spoke to Marks in 2019 about the videos, Marks said he shot the tapes because he was planning to do an armed robbery to get more money for his CPS lawyer in his custody battle for Adrian.
Marks said he decided to not go through with the armed robbery to claim he signed up for a UFC match.
In Marks’ line of questions with the Minnesota Detective, Garza made an objection for relevancy. Marks said to Garza’s objection, “I deserve to save my f***king life.” Marks then told Garza, “You look like you want to do something,” as deputies started to stand.
When Ginell dropped the videos off to Bloomington PD, one of the cases had Pease’s SIM card attached to it for the last activity to be recorded on March 18, 2009. This is the same period Pease went missing with Marks and Kelly Sorenson in nearby states.
Washington State Child Custody Investigator Kyle Barber was the next witness to speak. Barber was assigned to Marks and Pease custody case in October 2008, after Pease filed protective orders charges against Marks in September 2008.
Barber believed Marks wasn’t truthful in his interview. He believed Marks was controlling what Ginell McDonough and Kelly Sorenson said in their interviews with Barber himself.
Barber recommended for Adrian to stay with April until she went missing to then allow Marks to have custody.
April Pease’s mother, Dottie (Dorothy), testified on the afternoon of Monday, June 5 on April’s state in 2008-2009 and April’s relationship with Marks. Dottie mentioned how April knew Marks would never leave her alone.
Dottie said Marks discovered April went to a women’s shelter in Washington through Ginell and Kelly Sorenson, calling to find her location for Marks to show up at April’s shelter to be arrested in September 2008.
In cross examination, Marks didn’t deny telling Ginell and Kelly to call airports to find April’s whereabouts while he was in jail for two months.
Both Dottie and Barber testified that Pease was going to a confidential shelter in Minnesota for April to check out between March 17 and 18, 2009, to then disappear.
In regards to Dottie’s relationship with Adrian, Dottie testified Adrian didn’t want to have a connection with her due to what Adrian was told. Dorothy went back on the stand this afternoon to show messages of Marks being difficult in Dorothy and Adrian’s meeting. Dottie said she also received a message from Marks needing her help to get his record expunged. From the message, Dottie claimed if she did this, Marks would send Adrian to see her in Washington.
This comes after the jury found Marks guilty of killing Michael Swearingin and Jenna Scott. The jury began their deliberations at 1:30 p.m. on May 24 for the verdict be to given at 5 p.m.
Scott and Swearingen’s family and friends wiped tears from their eyes after waiting four years for Marks to be found guilty. Marks had a straight face when the verdict was read. The jury considered Marks had intent, motive and reason to commit this crime.
During closing arguments, Bell County District Attorney Henry Garza told the jury they can end this chapter in Jenna’s daughter Emory’s life in the right way.
Marks used his entire hour and 15 minutes to give his closing argument. Marks faced the jury with shackle on his feet and told the families he did not kill Mike and Jenna.
Marks then got emotional saying he wouldn’t be here if he was accused of killing Michael and Jenna. He then shouted that he’d be accused of killing them — turning to the prosecution.
Garza made multiple objections to Marks mentioning non-admitted evidence which were sustained.
First Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Newell then finished closing arguments to say Marks presented the jury smoky mirrors of the entire case.
Newell says the last thing Jenna heard from Cedric Marks before she died was, ‘Are you ready?’.
Newell told the jury she wanted them to find Cedric Marks guilty, and turned to Cedric and said “Mr. Marks… Are you ready?”.
Judge Steve Duskie said the punishment phase will now start on June 5.
The court expects this phase to be complete in five days.
Day 26, on Tuesday, May 23, turned out to be the last day of testimony in the trial. Marks is accused of killing Jenna Scott and Michael Swearingin.
The prosecution wrapped up its case by calling witnesses who refuted testimony presented by the defense.
Amanda Holtzclaw was the first witness the prosecution called to confirm Marks did break his protection order to not see Jenna Scott.
Holtzclaw said the judge gave the ruling at the August 15 protective court order hearing for Marks and Scott to not contact each other until a further ruling was made.
The protective order was supposed to start on August 21 but this is the same day Marks broke into Scott’s home.
In cross-examination, Marks said his protective order had expired to see Jenna.
Holtzclaw told Marks the order he mentioned in court was the initial court order served against him in July 2018.
Holtzclaw did admit Marks told her about Jenna contacting him on August 21, but added Marks didn’t provide her additional information to do an investigation.
Jenna Scott’s friend Bruce Thomas was called to testify in court next about how he was constantly threatened, harassed and stalked by Marks.
Thomas testified he and Jenna were good friends since 2010 – even staying together for a short time in Austin in 2016.
Thomas said Jenna and Marks had a toxic relationship for three years before completely breaking up in 2018.
Thomas testified that after going to the protective court order hearing in August 2018, Marks sent him a string of Facebook messages that didn’t end until January 2019.
At one point, Thomas says Marks messaged him on August 17, 2018 – saying he was driving by Thomas’ place in Austin and wanted to talk to him.
On September 16, one day before Marks and Jenna’s second court hearing, Marks supposedly told Thomas to not show up to the hearing.
In the message, Thomas claims Marks didn’t mind going to jail.
The messages continued until January 5 where Marks messaged Bruce about Jenna being missing and asking Bruce to respond.
Thomas testified he never responded to any of the messages, and claims Michael also received similar messages from Marks.
In cross examination, Marks asked Thomas why he didn’t block Marks himself from sending all these messages.
Thomas said he didn’t block Marks because he believed he’d need to use it someday.
Marks rested his case on Monday after calling his former girlfriend, Rebecca Adney.
She testified she was with former Temple Police Detective Corey Powell in the second search of her home.
Adney still stands on her previous testimony to say she noticed more items from her home were missing after police did their initial search.
Adney told the prosecution she has had communication with Marks since she last spoke in court. She also told the prosecution she has been telling the truth this entire trial.
Dianeye Nodarse was the next witness Marks called to testify.
Nodarse testified she went to Adney’s home on January 3-4, 2019 and found no boxes left on her porch to pick up.
Nodarse said she contacted Adney about this seeing a light on in her home, but saw no one present.
Marks then called his sons Logan and Adrian to testify online from Tennessee.
Cedric Marks directly examined them both to see what they would say in his trial for capital murder.
Logan testified first to describe how he saw Jenna Scott hit and threaten Cedric Marks with Marks not doing the same to Scott.
Logan said he doesn’t remember much leading up to Marks trip to Texas besides him going with Maxwell to see his lawyer.
Logan testified he doesn’t remember when Marks and Maxwell came back to Michigan or communicating with Marks in this period.
Marks made a point to ask Logan several times if he would lie in his testimony to protect him. Logan said no, saying he chose to tell the truth in his testimony.
In cross examination, Logan told Garza he doesn’t remember telling authorities in Marks burglary charge from August 2018 how Marks himself broke into Jenna’s home to request she drop her charges.
Garza gave Logan and Adrian these statements to refresh their memories over break.
Marks said his sons never made these statements and someone typed them out for Garza to introduce fulfilling the prosecutions narrative.
Logan said he recognizes some information from the statement but doesn’t remember the entire document.
In the end, Logan testified remembering Marks threatening to cut off Michael’s head off — telling Garza Marks only made this threat once.
Marks’ other son Adrian spoke next on the witness stand.
Adrian testified he doesn’t remember Marks threatening Michael over the phone.
Adrian mentioned similar experiences to Logan about Scott threatening Marks and his family and hitting him.
Outside presence of the jury in cross examination, Adrian said he has few memories of his birth mother April Pease, and was ten years old when Marks told him April was missing.
Back in front of the jury, Adrian said he does remember at some point Jenna Scott saying Marks hurt her.
Adrian said Marks grabbed Jenna’s arm for Jenna to be scared and soil herself. Adrian was unable to confirm if he saw this himself or if he heard Marks talk about it.
Marks first wife, Kristina, virtually testified last in the afternoon.
Kristina said she spoke to Marks on New Years Eve in 2018 to hear he was depressed and having a rough day.
Worried about Marks well-being, Kristina tried calling Marks between January first through the third being sent to voicemail.
Kristina told the FBI she was unable to find her phone records from this time period but says she never received calls from Marks in this time frame and only heard from Marks when he was in jail.
On Friday, May 19, the state rested its case – bringing forth witnesses in Cedric Marks capital murder trial. In day 24 of testimony, this was the first where Marks could call his first witnesses to testify.
Judge Steve Duskie started off the morning rejecting Cedric Marks motion for a directed verdict. Marks claimed the state brought forth insufficient evidence for a jury to make a decision.
Cedric’s first witness was Former King Bee Lounge business owner William Mahankey, Jr., who said he can’t remember seeing Jenna and Michael at his bar in downtown Austin. A paralegal who worked with Marks in 2018 came next to testify – she didn’t know or remember the little information Marks tried to bring up in his direct examination.
Team Texas Canines employee Crystal Fields testified her dogs did detect human scents in Michael’s home, but clarified her dogs detections can’t confirm a death in the area. Both Fields and Mahankey said they didn’t know why they were called to testify and didn’t want to be in court.
After these three witnesses, Detective Powell was recalled to testify next for Marks. Marks insinuated Powell didn’t use geofence data in his investigation because it possibly conflicted with phone locations. Powell denied this claim. Marks then pressed Powell – claiming he altered phone records to present in court.
District Attorney Henry Garza objected – saying his office itself ordered these phone records to prove the evidence is true.
Marks then called Maya Maxwell to testify again. She denied Marks claims that she merged details from her past interviews to make a narrative. Maxwell then denied killing Jenna Scott when questioned by Marks.
Maxwell also denied being kicked out of her friends home before staying with Marks’ friends. Maxwell said Marks spoke to her friend to then be kicked out. Throughout Maxwell’s testimony, Marks continually said Maxwell is lying to the jury and even asked if she’s ready to take a polygraph test to which the prosecution made an objection.
Marks last witness was his former title boxing coworker Reshard Hicks. Hicks testified he knows marks is a trained MMA fighter who strikes to take down his opponents, but does admit Marks is capable of grappling someone to choke them.
At the end of Friday, Marks said he’d have a few more witnesses to testify in person – the rest of his witness will testify online.
More of Cedric Marks recovered cell phone activities were presented on Thursday, May 18, in day 23 of his capital murder trial.
The phone records from Marks and Maya Maxwell provide additional information leading up to the disappearance and deaths of Jenna Scott and Michael Swearingin.
Texas Ranger Cell Forensic Expert Jared Brown came testified this morning he had to recover large amounts of data deleted from Marks phone.
On Jan 2, 2019, Marks allegedly made searches on how to delete messages on android phones and how to retrieve data.
This same day, Marks’ phone had website searches to find personal information on Bruce Thomas.
Marks has said in court Thomas had a former relationship with Jenna.
Between November and December 2018 evidence shows Marks Yahoo Mail account had searches for Jenna Scott and marriage certificates.
On Maxwell’s phone it showed Google Map activity for car washes in Missouri and the distance between these car washes back to Muskegon, Michigan.
Brown testified background check searches were also found on Maxwell’s phone for Bruce Thomas and Michael Swearingin.
In Marks cross examination with Brown, Marks says Maxwell could have done background checks on her own using Marks email and bank account info.
Marks also questioned the legitimacy of when some of his phone activities were recorded having some of the same searches and pictures in his phone.
Brown said the data carved from marks deleted footage, caused some items to have an incorrect time, but told Marks it’s true his phone did have multiple searches and photos of the same items.
In the afternoon, all parties relating to Marks’ arrest in Conroe came to testify.
Conroe Police Officer David Peek explained how him and 100 other officers did their 9 hour manhunt to arrest Cedric Marks.
Peek provided bodycam footage to be played in court of Marks arrest finding him in a nearby trash can from where he escaped his prison van at a McDonald’s parking lot.
Peek testified Marks’ shackles were broken when finding him and stayed with Marks at the Conroe police station until Texas DPS arrived.
In Marks’ cross examination, Peek said he wasn’t aware if Marks had any pending indictments with this situation.
Conroe Police Officer James Lindeman came next to the witness stand to say he processed Marks prison’s van after his escape.
Marks claimed there was a note in the van to let him be free if he payed the van driver.
Lindeman said he noticed the back window latch was broken and found no note in the vehicle.
The van driver Marie Sepalueda testified next to say she picked up Marks from Grand Rapids to bring him to Belton.
Sepalueda said they stopped in Conroe after picking up other inmates to get food inside McDonalds.
When leaving McDonalds, Sepalueda says she saw Marks escaping through the back window for Sepalueda to immediately call the cops.
Sepalueda isn’t sure if the latch was broken before or after picking Marks up, but told Marks in his cross examination she didn’t believe her van transport partner, Matthew Gutierrez, gave Marks a note to help him escape.
At end of Thursday, the prosecution announced they’d be done bringing in witnesses Friday morning.
Marks said he’d have his witnesses ready or recall witnesses who already spoke for tomorrow.
Marks said he plans to be done by Wednesday, May 24.
There was constant gridlock in the Bell County 426th District Court on Wednesday, May 17, between Cedric Marks and Temple Police Detective Corey Powell.
Marks’ cross examination eventually led to Marks being escorted outside the courtroom.
Marks exclaimed to Judge Steve Duskie this morning the court is protecting Powell in what Marks says is a dishonest investigation. Marks said, “I’m sitting here trying to save my life and you’re sitting here trying to protect this piece of garbage. They [the prosecution] know he’s a piece of garbage.”
Hearing this, Judge Duskie requested Marks to be escorted to his holding cell for 15 minutes.
Once Marks came back into the court room, Marks continued to claim Powell did witness tampering in his investigation and deceived anyone who knew Marks to fulfill Powell’s narrative.
When Marks questioned Powell on his January 2020 interview with Ginell, Powell did say he spoke with Ginell about Andre Oggins. Marks then claimed in Powell’s interview with Ginell, Powell distorted the story to make his case stronger against Marks.
Going into the already ruled motion of limine of prior bad acts, Judge Duskie reminded Marks to avoid this line of questions.
At the end of the morning of Wednesday, May 17, Marks claimed Powell not only lied and used deception in his investigation – Marks said Powell is lying in front of the jury.
In the afternoon, Marks received numerous objections by the state for his questions over relevancy, hearsay, and speculation to soon lash out again at the judge.
Outside the presence of the jury, Marks told Judge Steve Duskie, “You should be ashamed of yourself. You shouldn’t even be a judge in a hot dog eating contest.”
Hearing this, Judge Duskie immediately called for a 15 minute break.
Marks claimed Powell intimidated, deceived and lied to illicit what Ginell said in her interview.
For Maxwell’s interview, Marks claimed Powell guided Maxwell to provide different details to support his narrative.
In Marks’ own recorded interview with Powell, Marks insinuated Powell allowed Marks to speak in an unhealthy mental state.
With the prosecution, Powell denied these claims saying he truthfully did his investigation.
To discredit Powell, Marks mentioned how Powell was counseled in 2008 for a past situation.
The prosecution rebutted Marks attempt for Powell to say it was for a speeding ticket he was accused of setting up.
At the end of the day, Marks subjected to recall Powell as a witness. The prosecution said it had plans to bring forth witnesses surrounding Marks attempted escape in Conroe.
Temple Police Detective Corey Powell started in Day 21 of the trial on Tuesday, May 16. He discussed the timeline of calls, texts and recorded activities the defendant made from January 1 through January 10, 2019. Marks is representing himself against charges he killed Jenna Scott and Michael Swearingin, and then buried their bodies in Oklahoma.
Powell explained how Marks sent and/or received messages from four of his other girlfriends outside of Maya Maxwell – then explained to the courtroom the master timeline of how Marks sent and/or received messages from four other girlfriends outside of Maxwell between January 1 through January 10, 2019.
The record from January 1 – 5 also shows multiple phone calls between Marks and his former wife Kristina Marks. From January 3 – 5, Powell says Marks had multiple conversations with Kelly Sorenson, who’s tied to the death of April Pease.
Powell explains how on January 4, Marks was in contact with a bondsman, his therapist and his attorney. On the evening of January 5, Powell says Marks phone location in Joliet, Illinois refutes Marks time alibi of being at Island Jiu Jitsu in Michigan.
In this activity timeline, Powell testified he’s not sure who’s being recorded at Michael’s doorbell near 7 p.m. on January 3, 2019 – but believes it could be Maxwell from what she said in her police interview. Powell also testified saying he’s not sure how Marks subdued Michael after Michael is last seen leaving his home.
During Marks’ cross-examination that afternoon, Marks immediately requested to speak outside the presence of a jury making a motion of limine to admit evidence that’s already in a state exhibit of Jenna Scott speaking with Marks after she claimed Marks choked her. Judge Steve Duskie denied this request due to Powell being unable to authenticate the audio.
In cross examination, Marks went over Powell’s timeline to catch if there’s any incorrect time or data keyed in. Marks asked if Powell made the timeline on events he believed transpired. Powell said the timeline is based on evidence. In the timeline, Marks mentioned the numerous calls with women Powell say are Marks’ girlfriends.
Marks asked Powell how many women did he speak with to say they’re in a relationship with Marks himself. Powell said he knows of 17 girlfriends who have been in a relationships with Marks – some at the same time.
In the recorded phone activities with limited data, Marks asked Powell how he is certain the data was on Marks phone. Powell responded its Marks’ phone record with data Marks himself could have deleted.
When Marks asked Powell how he can be sure the info was deleted, Powell said someone will testify later with this information.
In reference to Maxwell’s interviews with Powell, Marks asked Powell if he believes Marks used white gloves to handle Jenna and Michael’s bodies, which Powell confirmed.
In response, Marks said if Powell can find any part in the interviews of Maya saying this he’d immediately plea guilty to the charges.
District Attorney Garza immediately objected to this saying Marks is trying to improperly impeach Powell which the judge sustained. Marks then alleged Powell was deceptive in this investigation eliciting information from others, which Powell denied.
At the end of the day, all court parties agreed the earliest end date for this trial will be May 26. Marks said he would bring forth 15 witnesses for the defense.
On Monday, May 15, Detective Powell continued his testimony from Friday, May 12. The court listened to the first recorded interview – and an audio recording between Marks and his sister saying he’s innocent. The court then heard the second police interview with Marks, which lasted three hours. In this interview, Marks told Powell a different story from his first interview to say he did go to Texas in January 2019 – not staying in Michigan.
In a recorded interview, Marks said he’d plead guilty to murder charges if he’d be able to be released on bail to sell action figures to raise money for his family. Detective Powell told Marks “There is no way we’re going to let you out.”
In the video, Marks said he went down to Texas to turn himself in. Marks then explained to Powell how everything was crushing him since August 2018. In this period, Marks said he couldn’t think, feel, and focus. Marks also said he felt like he was seeing Jenna everywhere and how he tried to commit suicide.
When Detective Powell asked Marks what he remembers on his trip to Texas, Marks said he doesn’t remember specific things rushing through his head at the time. The only thinks Marks could remember was crying when Ginell sent him a picture of his boys.
Powell asked Marks if he drove in Rebecca Adney’s car in January 2019 – and Marks says he doesn’t remember ever driving her car in that time period.
In the video, Marks followed this claim to say he doesn’t remember being in Adney’s home either.
Marks also continued to discredit what Maxwell told Detective Powell in her police interview.
Marks said Maxwell had a deep hatred for Scott. Marks told Powell he remembered Maya taping Jenna’s mouth in a bathtub and putting a bag over Jenna’s head to suffocate.
Marks even mentioned a spiked club was used but recanted his statement.
When Detective Powell asked about what happened to Michael in this same time period, Marks says he can’t recall.
In the video Marks says he doesn’t remember going to the Henryetta Walmart with Jenna and Michael’s bodies in his jeep. Marks also doesn’t remember driving around Austin.
Marks says he only remembers driving back up to Michigan.
In the video, Powell responded to Marks saying the jury doesn’t want to hear you say you can’t remember time periods or you not knowing what happened to Jenna and Michael.
Marks then said it’s all his fault for being in a relationship with Jenna, ignoring his kids, and for getting back with Maxwell.
After claiming innocence in the deaths of Michael and Jenna, Marks then claimed he had no part in the death of April Pease.
In the video Powell questioned Marks to know more background information about him. Marks told Detective Powell he suffered sexual abuse from a family member and stayed in-and-out detention centers as a minor.
On the morning of Friday, May 12, Maya Maxwell finished her time on the witness stand. Marks asked his final questions to see if Maxwell added extra details for her plea deal. Marks claimed Maxwell was lying in front of the jury to believe her.
Marks then claimed Maxwell never witnessed any events she detailed on January 3 for Maxwell to say she did. Marks then recalled Maxwell to possibly speak later in the trial.
A Bank of America representative then came to the witness stand, and provided Marks’ bank records from January 2019 and a recording of Marks calling to close his bank account. Marks said in the audio that he believes his ex has his bank account information.
Vivint Field Service Manager Brandon Credough came to the witness stand next. Credough’s testimony rebuts information Marks gathered in his past cross examinations to say doorbell footage can’t be deleted from Michael’s home. Credough said it can be deleted.
Former Temple PD Detective Corey Powell went back on the witness stand.
Powell testified earlier in the trial on his role in finding Jenna Scott and Michael Swearingin and Friday, May 12 Powell walked the jury through his initial investigation and presented his first two hour police interview with Marks to the courtroom.
Powell said he tried to get surveillance video of Maxwell entering a Central Texas Walmart to purchase trash bags being unable to find this footage.
Powell was also unable to get the casino footage in Oklahoma where Maxwell pulled out money.
In Powell’s police interview with Maxwell, Powell learned Marks tore his bicep lifting the jeep from mud at the Oklahoma property where Michael and Jenna were located.
After speaking with Maxwell, Powell did his first interview with Marks to see what he had to say.
At the beginning if the interview Marks immediately made statements trying to clear his name.
Marks said he’s met Michael a few times not knowing him well and admits to threatening him in March 2018, but thinks Michael is a super friendly person.
Marks talked about the problems he and Jenna had in their relationship, but told Powell he doesn’t know what happened to them.
Marks told Powell he stayed in Michigan the first week of January 2019 never going to Texas.
Marks said he stayed at home, went to get fast food, went to the gas station, and worked out. Marks even said there’s video of him doing this.
When Powell asked Marks about killing Jenna and Michael, Marks said, “I’m not a killer, I’m not a kidnapper, made them disappear, that’s all I gotta say.”
Powell then pressed Marks to tell the truth saying he already got it from Maxwell, Marks said he doesn’t know why she would say anything like that. She’s been with him in Michigan the entire time.
Marks said he hasn’t been to Texas since October 2018.
Powell told Marks he did a lot of things right in the crime but not everything and said his fear is for Marks to lie in the moment to then be called a monster in front of a jury.
Marks said he didn’t do anything and everyone already considers him to be a monster.
At the end of Friday the prosecution is admitting video of Powell’s second interview with Marks to be played in court next week.
Thursday, May 11 was a relentless day with Cedric Marks’ former girlfriend Maya Maxwell on the witness stand. She has been testifying since Tuesday of what she saw on January 3, 2019 of Marks allegedly killing Jenna Scott and Michael Swearingin. Marks’ cross examination lasted well over three hours from what he mentioned on Wednesday, May 10.
In Maxwell’s re-examination with prosecutors, Maya said it’s a familiar feeling from Marks trying to make her seem crazy. Marks continued his cross examination with Maxwell on inconsistent statements she gave in her police interviews. Prosecutors made many objections to Marks asking repeated questions. Maya stated in one of these instances, “If it’s what I remember then it’s what I remember and it’s true.”
Outside presence of the jury, Marks played part of a jail phone call between him and Maya speaking about her pregnancy concerns and how police reached her OBGYN. Marks did this to discredit Maxwell’s statements in her police interviews.
As Marks attempted to play the phone call in court, he wanted to play it on his computer. Judge Steve Duskie denied this, and Marks told Duskie he was blocking him like the prosecution. Marks also said it’s the judge’s system giving him problems – not Marks himself.
In Maxwell’s testimony over what happened in Oklahoma, Maxwell said she intentionally had the white camper shell placed on the burial site to mark the location so police can find it. Maya testified to Marks that she did see bruises on Jenna’s neck.
Maxwell says she lost trust in Ginell when she told her what happened in Texas. Maxwell quoted Ginell to say they’ve been best friends for 16 years and know a lot of the same people. In this mention, Maxwell did say she doesn’t believe Ginell is a monster – unlike Marks.
Marks questioned Maxwell on her past use of lithium and tremadol to discredit her testimony and past interviews. Maxwell says she rarely used lithium and responsibly used tremadol.
After recess, Marks continued to cross examine Maxwell. Marks alleged how Maya wanted to get revenge on Jenna in the past due to Jenna’s relationship with Marks. Maxwell said to the jury, “I never wanted to hurt or harm Jenna and Michael. They didn’t deserve what he did to them.”
Marks later alleged Maxwell has motivation and bias to speak against him in the trial, even adding how her plea deal can help her see her son. Maxwell broke down in tears and said, “I feel horrible about this and I accept the responsibility. This is something I didn’t want, and I’m not upset with my acceptance.”
When Maxwell made this statement in tears, Marks asked her how long did she practice to give this speech to make it more believable. The judge then called for a 15 minute break. After the break, Marks asked Maxwell if her testimony would be the same if she wasn’t given a plea deal or if it was taken away.
Maxwell said she’s at peace telling the truth in her testimony regardless of a plea deal. Maxwell stood on this statement to add even if she had no plea deal she would still testify because someone who knew Jenna and Michael needed to tell the truth. After this statement, the prosecution asked Maxwell to speak outside the presence of the jury over other murders Marks confessed to her.
The prosecution made this motion saying Marks made strenuous offenses bringing up other murders in his cross examination, and to prove Maxwell had a valid fear in not immediately telling police. Maxwell said Marks made these confessions to her on their trip from Oklahoma back to Michigan. Maxwell says Marks first confessed to killing cats and kittens. Marks allegedly told Maxwell he killed a boy when he was a minor. Maxwell says Marks killed a man in prison in Oklahoma with others off camera to not be caught.
Out of prison, Maxwell says Marks killed Andre Oggins for hitting on him while in the Oklahoma prison to cut his body into pieces and burn them. In discussing what Marks allegedly did to Oggins, Maxwell said Ginell McDonough helped bury Oggins and move the body to another location. Maxwell also says Marks alluded to killing April Pease.
Marks allegedly told Maxwell he was having legal battles with a female trying to take his kid away from him in Minnesota. Maxwell says she did not know Pease went missing in her 2019 police interviews saying Adrian saw his mother in Texas two years prior for the summer.
Maxwell alleges Marks took her to a women’s shelter upon their arrival in Michigan to show her how easy it is to access a women’s shelter for Marks to allegedly say he’s done it before. Marks countered these statements to say Maxwell corroborated with police making the claims he murdered April Pease and Andre Oggins. Marks says Maxwell is lying about the other stories, and questioned why she never mentioned the women shelter situation and other alleged murders in her past interviews.
Marks said if this is discussed in front of a jury, he would call for a mistrial. In the end, the judge decided to sustain Marks objection for this testimony to not be said in front of a jury.
On Wednesday, May 10, the Bell County 426 district courtroom was packed in day 17 of the Cedric Marks trial. Extra chairs were even brought in.
The main attention was on Marks former girlfriend and accomplice Maya Maxwell in day two of her testimony.
Maya Maxwell testified in court this morning she has taken a plea deal to share how she allegedly saw Marks kill Jenna Scott and Michael Swearingin.
Maxwell’s plea deal is to serve 20 years with a chance for parole for two counts of tampering with evidence.
In the rest of Maxwell’s direct examination with prosecutors, Maxwell says she initially lied to police saying her and Marks didn’t go to Texas.
Then she said they went to Texas looking for an action figure for Marks son having nothing to do with Jenna & Michael.
Maxwell then said she went to police to tell the truth.
She did a nine and a half hour interview with TPD Detective Corey Powell & Detective Ashley Cunningham telling everything she could remember.
Maxwell admits she was scared telling law enforcement the truth saying “I was scared because I knew once I did that, Marks would know and I wanted me and my son to be ok,” said Maxwell. “I knew Ginell was loyal and would tell Marks anything.”
Maxwell mentioned how law enforcement did a good job in keeping her safe. Maxwell also testified in how she worked with law enforcement remembering details while in jail.
In the afternoon of Wednesday, May 10, Maxwell seemed very firm in her testimony as Marks cross examined her on what she remembers as to what happened to Jenna Scott and Michael Swearingin.
In Marks’ cross examination, Marks asked if Maxwell is really telling the truth for her plea deal, which she confirmed.
Maxwell said law enforcement did not take her to Oklahoma, but Marks himself brought her when he buried Jenna and Michael.
Maxwell admitted to Marks she doesn’t remember the letters she wrote to him from jail in May 2019.
Maxwell also doesn’t remember the letter she wrote to Marks wanting to keep their relationship in December 2018.
In contrary, Maxwell admits to receiving letters from Marks while in jail.
Maxwell says one letter was inside a legal mail envelope with an attorneys name on it, but it was a letter from Marks.
In the letter Marks gives her the option to keep lying & be another jail story losing her son or to go through his attorney and fight the case together.
When Marks asked Maxwell if she ever did make the notice to leave Ginell’s home, Maya said no due to being homeless – and claims Marks made her lose her job.
Maxwell testified they did not go to the Henryetta Walmart after Marks made claims they went there for fishing equipment.
Maxwell testified she doesn’t remember Marks mentioning he wanted to drop charges against Jenna Scott.
Maxwell did admit Marks didn’t want her to come with him on his January 1 trip back to Texas.
Maxwell said she had to convince Marks to let her join wanting company for her PTSD and to support him turning himself in.
On the overall trip, Maxwell says she wanted to go with Marks to Texas to support him turning himself in and to also have a person to help her with her PTSD.
Maxwell did admit Marks initially didn’t want her to join him on the trip and had to convince him to let her come.
Going over the specific details over what Marks and Maxwell did on January 3, 2019, Marks drilled into Maxwell about inconsistent statements she gave to police and why she didn’t call the authorities on what she allegedly saw.
Maxwell then broke down having to admit she didn’t call authorities saying that she didn’t feel safe to speak with anyone.
Maxwell also testified to Marks telling her he killed another man in Tulsa named Andre Oggins for hitting on him but Marks questioned this statement to see if Maxwell was given this info by police.
At the end of today, Marks said he planned to cross examine Maxwell for another three hours tomorrow.
On Tuesday, May 9, Marks continued his cross examination of cell phone and data analysis expert Breck McDaniel. McDaniel reiterates locating Marks’ cell site does not pinpoint his location – but a 21-mile radius. Marks alludes to McDaniel’s unconscious bias.
Prosecution asked how difficult it would be to fake the cell site analysis. McDaniel asserted it would be “exceedingly complex” because the data came from four different phones and four different cell phone carriers.
Prosecution is attempting to form connections after McDaniel confirmed that Marks’ phone was identified using cell sites from: Michigan to Texas, Austin and the Temple area on January 3rd.
Maya Maxwell later took the witness stand to share the events leading to Jenna Scott and Michael Swearingin’s death. Maxwell believed she was driving from Michigan to Texas with Marks to turn him in because there was a warrant out for his arrest. When they arrived, they drove around for hours in the Austin and Temple area – Maxwell thought he was delaying to be turned back in.
On January 3rd, Marks asked Maxwell to drop him off at a friend’s house before turning himself in – but it was the house of Michael Swearingin. After suspicion that Marks was cheating, Maxwell went back to the house to find Jenna Scott handcuffed to a table. Marks was not there.
Maxwell left in fear. She kept calling Marks, at first he didn’t answer but when then told her to calm down and go back to Rebecca Adney’s house where they were staying. Hours later, Marks arrived with both Swearingin and Scott to the Adney house and put them in separate bathrooms.
On Monday, May 8, Texas DPS Forensic Experts came to provide more of their findings to link Cedric Marks to the murders Jenna Scott & Michael Swearingin.
Some of the testimony now provides a possible connection.
Texas DPS DNA Expert Erin Casmus testified this morning this is one of the largest cases she has worked on in her 20 years of experience.
She adds the number of samples in this one case she ran tests on is the equivalent to 30 to 40 cases.
Casmus testified being unable to find DNA on anything at the burial site nor anything on Jenna & Michael’s body’s.
Casmus says the changing weather could have interfered with having legible DNA results.
Casmus’ results on the Hyundai Genesis show a probable chance of having Cedric Marks and Maya Maxwell DNA on it, but with the DNA samples being mixed, Casmus couldn’t make a confirmation.
Casmus finished her time on the witness stand being cross examined by Marks.
Marks reviewed the lab results showing no distinct tie to him or Maya having DNA on Jenna & Michael.
Marks asked if it’s possible to wipe DNA without leaving DNA behind. Casmus says it is possible.
Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Newell countered Marks statements for the jury to learn gloves could have been used for lack of DNA, DNA could be transferred through any form of contact, and barriers could be used to avoid leaving DNA behind.
Cell phone expert Breck McDaniel came testified this afternoon.
McDaniel says he was able to track the movement of Marks and Maxwell phones through cell phone tower activity and business records.
On January 1, 2019, Marks phone is shown leaving Michigan to be in Central Texas around 1 P.M. January 2.
Later this evening at around 7:22 P.M. Marks phone is in Temple, then at 10:02 PM Marks phone is in South Austin.
On January 3, 2019 Marks phone is seen going from Rebecca Adney’s home in Killeen to a cell tower near Michael’s home between 3 – 9 P.M.
At 9:20 P.M. Marks phone is seen going back and forth between the Killeen and Belton area.
Marks phone is then again seen going down to South Austin at 1:50 AM where Michael Swearingin’s car was located by family and friends.
On January 4, 2019 Marks phone is seen in Oklahoma between 2 – 10:30 P.M. close to where Michael and Jenna bodies were located.
Afterwards Marks phone was seen going back to Michigan.
McDaniel says Maxwell’s phone traveled in consistent areas to Marks phone location for several times and days.
In Marks Cross examination he wanted the entire phone record shared to the jury.
On Friday, May 5, Texas DPS Forensic Expert Stephanie Meek was the first witness to speak. She did seven case prints on Cedric Marks, and processed items from Michael’s home and Hyundai Genesis. Texas DPS Forensic Expert Bonnie Manno did two additional case prints outside of Meek’s work, and also had inconclusive results.
Texas DPS Forensic Biologist Patricia Hafkey spoke on the witness stand, and processed Jenna and Michael’s clothes and items in Michael’s home for biological evidence. She found little to no results in her findings.
Texas DPS Forensic Science Trace Evidence Expert Stephen Favela testified on the witness stand and processed hair strands from the Toyota RAV4, Michael’s Hyundai Genesis, the floormat in Marks red Jeep, the suitcase located in Ginell’s office, and Jenna and Michael’s clothes.
The prosecution made a motion to admit evidence from the last hair results test – which they received on Friday, May 5. However, the judge denied this motion due to Marks saying it’s a late submission for the trial.
In the middle of this afternoon proceedings, the judge asked everyone, including media, to exit the courtroom to speak with the prosecution and defense in private.
After a 40 minute private conversation, Judge Steve Duskie said he had to excuse one of the jury members this afternoon and he wanted to keep jury matters private.
We’ll have to wait and see if this jury member will come back on Monday, however Judge Duskie emphasized to the jury to not look up any information about this trial online and not speak to anyone about it.
Public court proceedings resumed after this conversation.
Outside the presence of the jury, the Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Newell went over Favela’s final test results from today to show hair strands found in Marks’ red jeep were not Michael and Jenna’s.
With this information, Marks did not object to the evidence being admitted.
At the end of Friday, Judge Duskie said trial will start later at 10:30 Wednesday morning.
On Thursday, May 4, Judge Steve Duskie allowed Killeen Police Detective Amanda Holtzclaw to speak on the witness stand. She did the domestic violence casework between Marks and Jenna Scott in 2018. Holtzclaw testified she spoke to Cedric Marks and Jenna Scott individually after Marks was served a protective order on July 31, 2018 at 2:08 p.m.
51 minutes later that day is when Marks came to the Killeen Police Department with videos and audio clips he wanted to present of Jenna assaulting him. Holtzclaw testified she spoke with Marks on August 7, 2018 and was told by Marks the video was made in May.
The next day, Marks filed charges against Jenna for her to get arrested. In contrast, when Jenna spoke to Holtzclaw on August 14, 2018 providing photo evidence and information, Holtzclaw found out Marks lied on when the video was made.
Holtzclaw found out the video of Jenna hitting Marks was taken in January and charged Marks for filing a false police report and a misdemeanor for bodily injury assault. January is also the same period from what Holtzclaw says is when Jenna was documented to have taken an abortion pill.
Jenna’s father, Jonathan Scott testified on May 4, 2023 – saying Marks broke up with Jenna in March 2018 and added their relationship was done by May/June 2018. On June 2, 2018, Marks says this is the day he recorded an audio clip between him and Jenna Scott after they had a physical altercation. Marks alleged Jenna punched him multiple times in this altercation.
Holtzclaw said she had documentation of Marks saying he put Jenna in a rear naked chokehold in this same situation. Holtzclaw also mentioned Marks sent UMHB a video on July 21, 2018 of Jenna hitting him among other messages causing Jenna to drop out of school.
On August 21, 2018, Holtzclaw says she got an email from Jenna saying Marks broke into her home, threatening her and her daughter. Marks responded later in the trial saying the protective order served against him ended on August 18, 2018.
Marks says he went to Jenna’s home on August 20 and August 21 to drop off items. In relation to the break in, Jonathan Scott provided the court home security footage from those days.
The video on August 20 shows Marks knocking on the door looking in the window and trying to open it. On August 21, the video show Marks walking to the house to immediately grab the door handle.
Detective Holtzclaw, former Temple PD Officer Corey Powell and other law enforcement responded to Jenna’s home. Jenna Scott’s protective order hearing against Marks was dismissed on September 17, 2018.
Holtzclaw testified being at the Bell County courthouse this day telling Marks to leave Jenna alone and stop making contact. In the same day, Holtzclaw witnessed Marks and Maya Maxwell encounter Jenna and her father as they were leaving the courthouse.
Jonathan later testified Maya Maxwell passed Jenna a blanket in that moment and said “kill yourself b****,” for Marks to then drive off. Jonathan added a vehicle appearing to have Marks and Maxwell inside of it flicked them off as Jonathan and Jenna left the area.
On October 31, 2018 and November 5, 2018, Holtzclaw testified receiving emails from Scott about packages being delivered to her home. The first package had a t-shirt of Jenna and Cedric on it with a handwritten letter Jenna wrote. The second package had another letter typed out. The first package came from a Fort Hood address, and the second address came from Title Boxing Gym where Marks used to work.
In Marks cross examination with Holtzclaw, he asked if she has a history of going after men who file domestic violence claims which Holtzclaw denied. To counter Holtzclaw’s statements of Jenna wanting to avoid Marks, Marks played the audio clip from what he says was recorded on June 2, 2018.
In the audio, Scott is heard saying she wants to get back with Marks. Marks tells Scott to leave him alone and she abused him when she broke up with him. Jonathan Scott testified Marks broke up with Jenna in March 2018, and added their relationship was done by May/June 2018. Marks wanted to play a second audio clip, but the prosecution objected. The judge sustained this motion since Holtzclaw said she’s never heard of the second audio.
Former Temple Police Department Detective Corey Powell spoke last on the witness stand on May 4, 2023. Powell provided details on how he started the investigation into Cedric Marks and the search for Jenna Scott and Michael Swearingen. Powell testified how he created multiple search warrants for any information from January 1 to January 6.
Powell then got emotional remembering the journey he took from Michigan to Oklahoma to discover where Jenna and Michael were buried. Powell will speak again later in this trial once out of state law enforcement partners testify how they helped in the overall case.
On Wednesday, May 3, Marks cross examined his wife Ginell McDonogh on their relationship, Marks relationship with Maya Maxwell and what Ginell knows of Marks relationship with Jenna Scott. On the witness stand, Ginell admitted to being scared of law enforcement and willing to do whatever is needed to avoid consequences.
Ginell admitted their child Logan, and Adrian, whose mother is April Pease, testified for Marks in Scott’s protective court hearing in against Cedric in 2018. With Ginell making this statement, Marks played in court a video of himself and Jenna Scott in an altercation. In doing this, the judge told Marks to stop the video and the jury to leave the room.
District Attorney Henry Garza objected to Marks playing the video, saying it was an attempt to smear Jenna Scott’s name. Marks said he played the video since the prosecution opened the door on May 2 going through Ginell’s messages with a screenshot of the video in her phone.
With the prosecution doing this on May 2, Marks said he felt it was okay to play the video in front of the jury for Ginell to refresh her memory – being that it’s already evidence admitted by the state. Judge Steve Duskie overruled Garza’s objection. Judge Duskie says the video has been admitted, but says it can’t be played in court due to a motion of limine.
In response, D.A. Garza wanted to admit new evidence to show Marks character, history and behavior of violence. Garza then asked Ginell of what she knew about the 2009 disappearance of April Pease. In response, Ginell confessed Marks told her he killed April Pease a few years after Pease was reported missing. Ginell said she received two VHS tapes from Marks saying he did this to save his son Adrian from April.
Ginell cried when making this confession to Garza. Ginell gave the VHS tapes to Minnesota Police, and admits lying to them in her first interviews. Ginell then said she eventually changed her statements due to guilt. In Marks’ cross examination with Ginell over the VHS tapes, Ginell said she never saw the videos until Minnesota Police played them. Ginell also admits she lied to authorities under the circumstances for when Marks made this confession not being true.
With these statements from Ginell, Marks made the motion to deny the VHS tapes being admitted into court due to the trials focus on Jenna Scott and Michael Swearingin. After recess, Judge Steve Duskie sustained Marks objection to not admit the VHS tapes into evidence – mentioning jury prejudice. The judge also overruled Garza’s objection for the video Marks played before recess to be allowed in front of the jury.
After the judge made this decision, McDonough was examined again by both the prosecution and Cedric Marks.
She testified Marks asked her to delete messages between them and to lie to police about his whereabouts when he traveled from Michigan to Texas.
McDonough also told Marks she had no direct knowledge of what happened in TX and Oklahoma when speaking to police
However with the prosecution, McDonough did say Maya Maxwell told her about what happened before McDonough did her interview.
After McDonough left the stand, the prosecution wanted to bring Killeen Det. Amanda Holtzclaw to the witness stand.
Outside the presence of the jury, Garza said Holtzclaw had information to add to the probative value and admissibility of Marks bad acts having 5 pending misdemeanors and felonies.
Detective Holtzclaw did domestic violence casework with both Jenna Scott and Cedric Marks in 2018.
Holtzclaw said outside of the jury, Jenna contacted Holtzclaw to say she was going to have an abortion as Marks and Scott were filing charges against each other.
Marks did add to say if Holtzclaw is able to speak, it would extend the trial by weeks to defend himself against the pending allegations and says this is an act of retialiation by the prosecution because Marks played his video.
At the end of the day, Judge Steve Duskie did say he would have a decision at court on the morning of Thursday, May 4 to decide if Holtzclaw can testify in front of the jury.
The third week of the Capital Murder trial of Cedric Marks officially started on Tuesday, May 2. Monday’s proceedings were cancelled because Marks reported he was too sick to appear in court.
Marks is accused of killing Jenna Scott and Michael Swearingin, and then burying their bodies on a piece of land his family owns in Oklahoma.
Temple Police Forensic Detective Tom Wolf was the first witness to speak Tuesday. He received and extracted data from Cedric Marks’ devices, and also got limited info from Jenna Scott’s phone and Michael Swearingin’s tablet.
Regional Organized Crime Info Center Forensic Video specialist Kennedy Ring was the next witness to speak on the morning of Tuesday, May 2. Per Temple PD Det. Corey Powell’s request, Ring clarified select footage from January 3 – 4, 2019. Ring presented the jury enhanced videos she worked on with magnified frames of Swearingin’s neighborhood surveillance, Whataburger footage, Walmart footage, and footage from First Baptist Church Temple.
In Ring’s enhanced Walmart surveillance footage, it shows the man and woman who appear to be Cedric Marks and Maya Maxwell – with the woman’s shoes resembling the same pair Michigan law enforcement seized when searching Ginell’s rental home.
As of around 3 p.m. on Tuesday, May 2, Cedric Marks’ wife Ginell McDonogh is on the witness stand. The prosecution has now gone through Ginell’s messages and call log from Jan. 1 – Jan. 9. In Ginell’s multiple calls between Maya and Marks in this time period, Ginell says she doesn’t remember any of the conversations.
On Friday, April 28, Detective Forney was recalled by the prosecution.
Texas Ranger Adam Russell was the second witness to speak on the morning of April 28. He helped Kelsey Kemp process Swearingin’s home, Adney’s home and her Toyota RAV4. Russell testified he traveled to Oklahoma to help excavate where Jenna Scott and Michael Swearingin were located, and helped transport evidence back to Texas. Russell even measured the distance from the burial site to Marks family plot at Northfork cemetery to be 703 yards.
From the gravesites, Russell received swabs from items placed at the camper site from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. One of the physical items Russell received was a Gatorade bottle placed inside the grave with Jenna and Michael. Russell then testified going to Michigan to help Temple Dectetives Corey Powell and Ashley Cunningham collect evidence from Michigan State Police. Russell said he was also present for one of Powell’s interviews done in Michigan with Cedric Marks.
Prosecutors requested to speak outside the presence of the jury, and said they have new evidence outside the discovery of Powell’s interviews with Marks’ family and friends after Marks attempted to escape in Conroe. Marks requested for these interviews to not be submitted into court – saying Ranger Russell wasn’t present for these interviews, and that it could cause jury prejudice for an act he wasn’t charged for.
Court was about to resume as Marks had time to review the extracted phone data from Thursday, April 27. Marks says this was a last minute move by the state.
Bell County District Attorney Henry Garza and Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Newell said the videos aid in supplementary reports made by Detective Powell of his interviews with Maya Maxwell and Ginell McDonogh. The judge gave Marks and his counsel time to look over this footage — and allowed Michigan law enforcement to be virtually summoned for recall.
In response, Marks asked the judge to squash the in-person subpeona for Ginell – saying there’s a transportation conflict for her to fly in from Tennessee leaving her kids by themselves. The judge denied Marks’ request and asked Marks to work with his wife to make arrangements.
After this discussion, Marks cross examined Texas Ranger Adam Russell – who testified on the morning of April 28. Under questioning, Russell admitted he did not know the test results from the blood swabs gathered from Swearingin’s home. Russell also said he was unaware if DNA was gathered on the water bottle gathered from the burial site of Jenna Scott and Michael Swearingin.
Along with the severe weather, judge Steve Duskie ended trial early on April 28 to give Marks time to finish looking over the extracted phone data and video footage.
On Thursday, April 27, Grand Rapids PD Officer Joe Garret was first on the witness stand. He worked with U.S. Marshals to arrest Marks at a mall in Michigan on January 8, 2019.
Michigan State Police Dectective John Forner came to the witness stand next. Forner tracked down where Marks, Maya Maxwell and Janell McDonough were staying at on Palmer Street, Muskegon, MI. He helped conduct the search warrant and seized Marks’ Red Jeep and Maxwell’s White Subaru.
Forner testified he received information in his interview with Maxwell. The location where Jenna Scott and Michael Swearingin were buried. Forner gave Maya’s information to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations for the excavation process to begin. After Jenna and Michael’s bodies were found, Forner did additional interviews with Maxwell and McDonough. Forner also mentioned Maxwell voluntarily gave this information not being taken into custody.
In the search and seizure of Marks’ red jeep, Forner said there was a background report paper of Jenna Scott inside the vehicle. Forner also testified seeing Janell deliver papers, photographs, and VHS tapes to the Bloomington, Minnesota police department. The car search happened on January 10, and the background report paper had the time code of being printed on October 18, 2018.PREVIOUS STORY: Marks’ ex-wife confirms murder confession
During trial on Wednesday, a bailiff removed Marks from the courtroom because of an outburst he aimed at the judge and prosecutors. He accused them of preventing him from successfully representing himself. When court resumed, Marks apologized for the outburst.
Prosecutors presented surveillance footage from a Walmart that showed two people who appeared to be Marks and Maya Maxwell buying a shovel, thermal clothing, shoes, and an exacto knife. According to a receipt, the purchases were made on January 4th, 2019 at 4:09 p.m.
During his cross examination, Marks presented several screenshots from the same video, but one was not admitted into court due to alterations.
Earlier, Leon Neal was the first witness to take the stand. Marks wanted to exclude Neal from speaking in front of the jury, saying Neal had lack of identifying Marks on January 4 near the Shannon property where Michael Swearingin and Jenna Scott were located. The judge overruled Marks motion, and Neal was able to testify in front of the jury.
Neal says he spoke with a black man near the Shannon Property, saying he was showing his girlfriend his old stomping grounds and had knowledge of the area. In Marks’ cross examination with Neal, Neal said he couldn’t confirm with certainty the man he spoke with the night of January 4 was Marks himself – and was unable to identify the vehicle. Neal was only able to say it was a dark vehicle.
Leon’s distant relative and hunting partner, Justin Massey, was with him that day – and gave a similar testimony to what Neal said.