BELTON — A jury trial — expected to last three weeks — scheduled for capital murder suspect Cedric Marks on October 4 will be delayed for a few weeks because one of his standby attorneys will be out of the country.
Marks, 47, has been held in Bell County Jail since February 3, 2019, held in place of bonds totaling more than $2 million.
Marks is charged with the capital murder of several people, a capital crime; burglary of a dwelling with intent to commit a felony, a felony in the first degree; tampering with evidence, a third degree felony; and various misdemeanor charges.
Bell County District Attorney Henry Garza is seeking the death penalty for Marks in connection with the deaths of Temple residents Jenna Scott, 28, and Michael Swearingin, 32, on January 3, 2019.
The delay occurred during a preliminary hearing in Bell County’s 426th Judicial District Court presided over by Judge Steven Duskie.
During the hearing, Duskie asked Garza and Marks – who is representing himself – if they were ready for a proposed start date of October 4.
Both Garza and Marks said they were ready for what they expected to be a three-week trial.
Duskie proposed that jury questionnaires and other materials for the trial be prepared the week before. At that time, one of Mark’s attorneys, Heidi Baier, reminded the court of his vacation, which was scheduled before a trial date was set.
Baier – who appeared via Zoom call – reminded the court that she would be gone from September 16 to October 3.
“I’ll be back that day with bright eyes and a bushy tail,” she said.
Duskie said the trial date took into account the attorney’s vacation, but not for pre-trial preparations.
Marks told the court that as a pro se defendant – someone representing himself – he should have the final say on time because he was unaware of the delay and saw no need to have all the reserve lawyers. Lawyers John Gilligan and Gabrielle Green also hold the same position.
Baier reminded Marks that as a capital murder suspect, all of his attorneys must be present during the proceedings.
“I will adjust our trial date, but it will be minimal,” Duskie told Marks. “We are considering a trial date of October 17 or 24. Once we have decided on the date, we will bring the panel to two separate days. »
Marks maintained his innocence while Maya Maxwell, his alleged accomplice, told investigators that she and Marks hid Swearingin’s car in Austin to distract authorities.
Arrest affidavits in the case say the victims were killed in Austin and the bodies taken to Clearview, Okla., where the bodies were discovered in a shallow grave.
Autopsy reports listed Scott’s cause of death as lethal violence due to multiple traumatic injuries while Swearingin was strangled. He had bruises, cuts and abrasions on his body.
Marks was arrested on February 3, 2019 and remains in Bell County Jail.
Maxwell was arrested on January 29, 2019, and charged with capital murder of multiple people, a capital crime, and tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony. She remained in the county jail on Monday with bonds totaling $750,000.