Man accused of killing local woman, male friend pleads not guilty

Cedric Marks. (Jail photo)
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BELTON, Texas (KWTX) Cedric Marks, 44, who’s accused of killing his former girlfriend, Jenna Scott, 28, and her longtime friend Michael Swearingin, 32, and then burying their bodies in a remote area of Oklahoma, pleaded not guilty to a capital murder charge Friday morning in state district court in Belton.

Marks also pleaded not guilty to complaints charging burglary of a habitation and tampering with evidence.

Authorities found the bodies on Jan. 15 in rural Okfusee County, Okla., 12 days after the two disappeared.

Swearingin was strangled and likely died of asphyxiation, according to an autopsy report.

Contusions and abrasions were found on his hands, suggesting he struggled with his attacker.

A report on Scott’s autopsy described her death as “violent, unnatural, unusual,” but didn’t identify a specific cause.

Marks was arrested on Jan. 8 in Kent County, Mich., on a Temple burglary warrant stemming from a break-in on Aug. 21, 2018 at Scott’s home.

He was indicted for capital murder on April 3.

Maya Renee Maxwell, 26, who’s accused of helping abandon Swearingin’s vehicle in an effort to hide it from authorities was also named in a capital murder indictment on April 3.

She was indicted on March 27 for tampering with evidence.

Maxwell, who was arrested on Jan. 11 in Muskegon on a Bell County warrant charging tampering with evidence, admitted that “she was involved with leaving Swearingin’s vehicle in Austin in hopes to conceal it from law enforcement, a warrant affidavit says.

She was present on Jan. 3 at a home in Killeen when Swearingin and Scott were killed, according to an affidavit.

"Maxwell said that both Jenna Scott and Michael Swearingin were alive at the time they were brought to the Killeen residence," the affidavit says.

"Marks then entered the room where Michael Swearingin was located and when Marks left the room, Michael Swearingin was deceased," the affidavit says.

"Marks then entered the room where Jenna Scott was located, and when he left that room, Maxwell reported that Jenna Scott was deceased," the affidavit said.

"Maxwell reported that she heard a struggle when Marks entered the rooms with both individuals," the affidavit said.

She provided information about where the bodies of the two friends were buried, the affidavit says.

Marks was named in a capital murder warrant in connection with the killings on Feb. 3, the same day he escaped from a prisoner transport van in Conroe.

He was on the run for about nine hours before he was recaptured.

He remains in the Bell County Jail in lieu of bonds totaling more than $1.75 million.

He's also charged with interference with an emergency call, false report, and violation of a protective order, according to online records.

Maxwell is held in lieu of $500,000 bond.