‘I am fighting for my (expletive) life’: Cedric Marks lashes out at prosecutor as state pursues death penalty

Published: Jun. 5, 2023 at 8:28 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 5, 2023 at 9:02 PM CDT
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TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) - Cedric Marks, found guilty of capital murder in the killings of his ex-girlfriend, Jenna Scott, 28, and her friend, Michael Swearingin, 32, is representing himself in the sentencing phase as the state pursues the death penalty.

During Monday’s sentencing hearing, the prosecution focused on Marks’ ex-girlfriend, and mother of one of his children, April Pease, a Minnesota woman who was found dead in 2009. Marks has been charged with second degree murder in that case.

The state showed videos it argues show Marks confessing to killing Pease. Prosecutors told jurors Marks and Pease were engaged in a custody battle over their son, and Marks claimed Pease was unfit to raise the child.

In the videos, Marks tells his son he’s about to do something that will either put him in prison for the rest of his life, or get him killed. Marks further said he did not mind so long as it meant protecting his son from Pease.

“Even if I was to get away with this, I’ll show you this (video.) I’m a bad person, but I’m not a bad person to let a child to get hurt. I hope to be reunited with you, but if I fail at this, I succeeded anyway because I freed you,” Marks said in the recording.

When detectives spoke to Marks in 2019, he said he made the tapes because he was planning an armed robbery.

At one point during the sentencing hearing Monday, District Attorney Henry Garza objected to Marks making self-serving statements.

Marks responded, “This is a death penalty case. I deserve to do a self-serving statement because I’m fighting for my f****** life.”

This caused the deputies to surround Marks. Judge Duskie tried deescalating the situation, but Marks continued to lash out at Garza.

“I don’t know why you’re looking like that like you’re about to do something,” said Marks.

Pease’s mother, Dorothy, testified and Marks accused her of lying in her testimony about their relationship.

Marks told jurors April Pease was a drug addict who kidnapped her children from their fathers, and used them to steal goods.

Dorothy Pease defended her daughter after Marks’ claims. “She was a beautiful, fun, loving girl. She made mistakes. We all do. But she didn’t deserve what happened to her,” said Dorothy Pease.

Pease testified that during the two’s relationship, Marks would constantly harass Pease and she said her daughter told her Marks choked her out before.

“She was afraid, she know he would never leave her alone. He wanted to control her,” said Pease.

Pease went to a homeless shelter with both she and Marks’ son in Washington. Because Ginell and ex-girlfriend, Kelly Sorenson, called around to find Pease’s location, Marks ended up showing up and got arrested.

The court also learned that Ginell and Kelly called different airports to find Pease while Marks was in jail. Pease testified that April went to a confidential shelter in Minnesota, checked out March 17, 2009 and disappeared.

Pease she said was texting her daughter because when she disappeared, she left her son at the shelter. Pease said thought her daughter relapsed and didn’t want her grandson to end up in foster care. However, she now believes those text messages were coming from Marks.

Once their son ended up in foster care, she drove to Marks’ house and left a note telling him what happened and to get his son back.

Four days after April’s disappearance, Marks got temporary custody of his son.

“Basically, I gave my grandson to the man who killed my daughter,” said Pease.