Cedric Marks sentencing : Capital murder suspect’s ex-wife testifies about his confession to killing mother of his child

Deputies escorted Marks out of courtroom twice due to outbursts
Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 8:12 PM CDT
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TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) - Jurors in the sentencing phase of Cedric Marks - the man found guilty of capital murder in the killing of his ex-girlfriend, Jenna Scott, 28, and her friend, Michael Swearingin, 32 - on Tuesday heard tearful testimony from the parents of the victims, who discussed the pain and devastation from losing their loved ones.

Scott’s father, Johnathan, said it’s been hard to adjust to their new normal with Jenna being gone. He said there’s a large a void, especially for the victim’s 14-year-old daughter.

“Jenna didn’t let her past dictate her future. It had a lot of rough spots, but she was using it to help others,” said Scott, “She was fearful, but she didn’t let that control her anymore. She wanted to be strong. It’s been a long process to get closure and heal. Jenna had a lot of courage, loved a lot of people, and was beginning to live the best life she could. Her and Michael didn’t deserve to die.”

Swearingin’s mother, Debbie Harrison, didn’t hold back, saying that the murder of Michael was gut wrenching. She said since his passing, it’s caused depression, health problems, and more lives lost for family and friends.

“Marks is all about his children and talks about how wonderful they are. What about my child? Or Karen Scott’s? Or Dorthy Pease’s child? Think about that Mr. Marks,” said Harrison, “He has many friends. He didn’t meet anyone who didn’t love him except Cedric Marks.”

Harrison told the court she wants Marks to have the strongest punishment available, execution.

Marks, who is representing himself in court, recalled his suspected accomplice in the murders, Maya Maxwell, to the stand. He accused Maxwell of kidnapping the victims with her ex-boyfriend. Maxwell looked confused when confronted with Marks’ claims, and denied his allegations saying, “You were the person who did this.”

Marks used profanity toward Judge Duskie and the prosecution twice, resulting in him having to be removed both times.

The convicted killer showed signs of being irritated when a few witnesses explained prior violent incidents with Marks. An ex-girlfriend, Sharon Baxter, named a time where Marks choked her, and when Marks broke her boyfriend’s jaw in two places while threatening to kill him.

Mark’s ex-wife, Ginell McDonough, also testified and confirmed that Marks admitted to her that he killed April Pease in Minnesota. Marks has been charged with second degree murder in that ongoing investigation.

McDonough said Marks told her that he left Pease unrecognizable in a shed in one of the Dakotas. McDonough also testified that Marks removed Pease’s teeth and hands.

McDonough also discussed videos in which Marks admitted to killing Pease. When the prosecution ordered McDonough to watch them, she cried, and Marks lost his temper. He was upset the state wanted to play videos in front of McDonough, especially since they were shown in court on Monday.

“Is this the Jenna Scott capital murder trial or the April Pease trial? I don’t understand,” said Marks.

Marks cursed and said, “These are disgusting f****** people, your honor, to have them play this for her off of a lie. Whether they put me to death or not, these are disgusting people. These people, the county, and this system is dirty.” He also accused Judge Duskie of aiding the prosecution the entire time.

Marks said he’ll have three more witnesses take the stand on Wednesday.

The state, which is pursuing the death penalty, rested its case in the sentencing phase.