Prosecutors seek death penalty against man accused in murder of Temple friends

Crime

AUSTIN (KXAN/ Nexstar) — Prosecutors will seek the death penalty for a man accused in the brutal murder of two Temple friends in January, KXAN’s sister station KWKT confirmed Tuesday.

jenna scott and michael swearingin temple

Cedric Marks, 45, faces two capital murder charges in the deaths of 28-year-old Jenna Scott and 32-year-old Michael Swearingen. The friends disappeared Jan. 4 and their bodies were found a week later in shallow graves in Oklahoma.

Both victims’ families met with District Attorney Henry Garza on July 10 to suggest he seek the death penalty. He filed a notice to the district clerk Aug. 9 doing just that.

“There is such a thing as righteous anger and we feel that this is a case for righteous anger,” Deborah Harrison, Michael’s mother, told KWKT.

Marks pleaded “absolutely not guilty” of capital murder in January. He also faces tampering with evidence and burglary charges.

Two other people, Maya Maxwell and Ginell McDonough, were also charged in connection with the complex case. Maxwell told police she was in the house when the pair were murdered, though she didn’t see it herself, according to an arrest affidavit. She also told them where to find the bodies.

Officials have not said what penalty will be sought if Maxwell is found guilty.

“We believe she needs to be punished because she did assist in everything and we feel like she could have stopped it,” Harrison said. “But she did help and we would not have recovered the bodies, we would still be wondering where they were had she not cooperated.”

In February, Marks was being extradited from Michigan where he was arrested to Bell County when he escaped custody, prompting a widespread manhunt in Conroe, Texas. After he was caught, he spoke out from behind bars to say he had nothing to do with the murders.

Marks faces other charges besides the capital murder charges and his bond was set at $1.75 million.

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