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BELL COUNTY, Texas (FOX 44/KWKT) — The Capital Murder trial of a man accused of killing two Austin friends and later escaping police custody began Monday in the 426th Judicial District Court in the Bell County Courthouse.

Cedric Marks is representing himself, with the help of John P. Galligan. He’s accused of killing Jenna Scott and Michael Swearingin, who were both reported missing on January 4th, 2019.

Michael Swearingin & Jenna Scott

During the first day of jury selection, Marks objected to being forced to wear a leg iron in court. This objection was overruled. The prosecution has agreed to stay seated during the trial as to not call attention to the leg iron.

Five potential jury members were dismissed on the first day. Marks asked to dismiss three others and was denied. Prosecutors asked to dismiss one and were denied.

Cedric Marks has been in the Bell County Jail since February 2019, after being arrested in Michigan. While on his way back to face the capital murder charges, authorities say Marks escaped custody. He was later caught after a nine-hour manhunt.

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Cedric Marks recaptured in Montgomery County in 2019

Marks fired his attorneys and petitioned to represent himself in 2021. According to court documents, the 426th Judicial District Court Judge signed the motion on Monday, Aug. 23, 2021 to discharge Marks’ counsel. Judge Duskie ordered the Regional Public Defender for Capital Cases to hand over the defense file to Marks.

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Maya Maxwell

Marks pleaded not guilty to all charges, including burglary and capital murder. If found guilty, Marks faces life in prison or the death penalty.

Marks’ co-defendant is Maya Maxwell. She is accused of helping him dispose of the bodies of Scott and Swearingin, as well as Swearingin’s car.

Maxwell also gave birth to a son she shares with Marks while behind bars. He is now 3 years old and at last report is in foster care.