A former professional MMA fighter who allegedly killed his ex-girlfriend and her friend earlier this year before leading Texas authorities on a nine-hour manhunt faces the death penalty if he is convicted of the murders.
Cedric Joseph Marks, 45, is accused of breaking into his ex Jenna Scott’s home in Temple and killing her and her friend, 32-year-old Michael Swearingin. Scott, 28, and Marks once dated.
Bell County District Attorney Henry Garza told the Temple Daily Telegram that the state is seeking the death penalty for the murders.
“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,” Garza told the publication.
Scott and Swearingin were reported missing in early January and their bodies were found in a shallow grave in Clearview, Okla., on Jan. 15, KHOU reports.
Marks has pleaded not guilty to the killings.
Both he and his girlfriend, 26-year-old Maya Maxwell, were indicted on capital murder charges and of tampering with evidence, ABC News reported. Maxwell was pregnant at the time of the killing and she allegedly admitted to being at the home where both victims were killed as well as being present when they were dumped in Oklahoma, according to the Associated Press.
After his initial arrest, Marks escaped from a private prisoner transport when it made a stop at a McDonald’s, according to the Conroe Police Department. It took nine hours for the authorities to get him back into custody. He was eventually found hiding in a 55-gallon trash can behind a house, according to a KWKT in Waco.
Marks reportedly fought as a fighter under the name “Spider Man” for about 20 years.
He is also considered him a person of interest in Minnesota in the disappearance of his former girlfriend, April Pease. She is the mother of one of his children, according to KWKT. She once accused him of domestic abuse, according to the Associated Press.
Last summer, Scott had tried filing for a protective order against Marks, but a judge rejected it. Her father created a petition online calling on state lawmakers to mandate criminal background checks for people against whom protective orders are sought.
“Jenna Scott sought a protective order against an individual with an extensive criminal background and the court ruled against her protective order because the judge was not aware of the individuals criminal background - even though it was presented in verbal testimony,” the petition reads.
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