BELL COUNTY, Texas (FOX 44) – Testimony in the Cedric Marks Capital Murder trial continues in Bell County’s 426th District Court on Thursday, April 27.
On Thursday, April 27, Grand Rapids PD Officer Joe Garret was first on the witness stand. He worked with U.S. Marshals to arrest Marks at a mall in Michigan on January 8, 2019.
Michigan State Police Dectective John Forner came to the witness stand next. Forner tracked down where Marks, Maya Maxwell and Janell McDonough were staying at on Palmer Street, Muskegon, MI. He helped conduct the search warrant and seized Marks’ Red Jeep and Maxwell’s White Subaru.
Forner testified he received information in his interview with Maxwell. The location where Jenna Scott and Michael Swearingin were buried. Forner gave Maya’s information to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations for the excavation process to begin. After Jenna and Michael’s bodies were found, Forner did additional interviews with Maxwell and McDonough. Forner also mentioned Maxwell voluntarily gave this information not being taken into custody.
In the search and seizure of Marks’ red jeep, Forner said there was a background report paper of Jenna Scott inside the vehicle. Forner also testified seeing Janell deliver papers, photographs, and VHS tapes to the Bloomington, Minnesota police department. The car search happened on January 10, and the background report paper had the time code of being printed on October 18, 2018.
Michigan Detective John McCaw is now on the witness stand. McCaw extracted data from Cedric Marks’ phone, Maya Maxwell’s phone, and Ginell McDonogh’s phone. From Marks’ phone, McCaw was able to extract Facebook data with Ginell’s account attached, documents between Marks and Jenna Scott, and health documents from January 10, 2019 for Marks’ torn bicep.
On Maya’s phone, McCaw was able to extract location services data, Google searches on January 5, 2019 for car washes, and an accuweather search for Henryetta, Oklahoma. On January 9, 2019, there was a Google search for Temple, TX News. Call logs and messages between Maxwell and Marks were also taken. McCaw said he was able to take a full data extraction from Ginell’s phone. He gathered Ginell’s calls and texts between her and Marks, Maxwell and Rebecca Adney. The full extraction physically broke Ginell’s phone.
Court is now in recess for Marks to look over the thumb drives with his, Maxwell’s and McDonogh’s phone data.
FOX 44’s Earl Stoudemire is in the court room and is sending updates throughout the day. You can follow him on Twitter.
Whataburger Director of Asset Protections Ruben Olivas was the first witness to speak on Wednesday, April 26. He provided the court surveillance footage of a white SUV going through the drive through around 1:15 a.m. on January 3.
Cedric Marks’ former girlfriend Rebecca Adney came to the witness stand next. She owned the home on Mikulec Drive in Killeen, which Temple PD processed for evidence. The court went through Adney and Marks’ text messages from December 11, 2018 to January 8, 2019.
In a text on January 1, 2019, Marks sent a message to Adney saying: “I used and hurt people and got away for a while. Remember who I am. I have no heart. I’m inhuman. I hope it hurts when they shoot me. I hope there’s a hell. I’m manipulating.” In this same message, Marks says Adney deserves better. He won’t be seeing her again and to stop texting him, saying he has a long drive tomorrow.
Adney told the jury she gave Marks money for his kids, she owned the White Toyota SUV that has been in question in the throughout the trial so far, and Adney also bought Marks a red jeep. In the messages, Mark couldn’t pick Adney up from the airport – saying he tore his bicep – and didn’t give Adney a time when he would be coming back to Texas from Michigan.
Adney also testified that when she returned from her trip, she noticed several items missing, including a hand towel, a picture of her and Marks, all of her trash bags, and electrical tape. She said her Rav4 was dirty inside and the wheels had mud on them.
Just before the court went into recess, Adney testified that her vehicle appeared to be driven in Swearingin’s neighborhood on January 3rd. She also identified Marks in surveillance video taken from the Henryetta, Oklahoma Walmart.
As of just before 2:50 p.m. on Wednesday, April 26, Marks was cross examining Adney. Prosecutors had to object to many questions Marks gave Adney to say they were self-serving statements. The judge even had to ask the jury to disregard a few questions and answers Marks gave to Adney. As of just before 3:30 p.m., Marks was removed from court after using profanities with the judge and prosecution inside the courtroom after trying to get video footage authenticated.
During the afternoon on Tuesday, April 25, prosecutors presented surveillance footage from a Walmart that showed two people who appeared to be Marks and Maya Maxwell buying a shovel, thermal clothing, shoes, and an exacto knife.
During his cross examination, Marks presented several screenshots from the same video, but one was not admitted into court due to alterations.
Earlier, Leon Neal was the first witness to take the stand. Marks wanted to exclude Neal from speaking in front of the jury, saying Neal had lack of identifying Marks on January 4 near the Shannon property where Michael Swearingin and Jenna Scott were located. The judge overruled Marks motion, and Neal was able to testify in front of the jury. Leon’s distant relative and hunting partner, Justin Massey, was with him that day – and gave a similar testimony to what Neal said.
Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations Special Agent Kirk Titsworth came back to the witness stand via recall. Titsworth told the jury that a member of the Golden family is related to the Marks Family. The Golden family grounds is where Neal and Massey were hunting.
Forensic pathologist for the Chief Medical Examiners office in Oklahoma City, Dr. Lisa Barton, came to the stand next. When she did this, Michael’s family had to leave the already half-empty courtroom. Scott’s family was in low attendance on the morning of April 25.
Dr. Barton performed the autopsies of Jenna Scott and Michael Swearingin. She went through photos and documentation on her examinations. Barton says Scott died from homicidal violence mentioning her mouth was taped, her body bruised and ribs fractured.
In Swearingin’s autopsy, Dr. Barton says Michael’s death was also a homicide deemed asphyxia caused by strangulation. She explained Michael had bruises on his legs, back and torso. Multiple hemorrhages were also reported.
When Marks was offered to examine the photos of Michael and Jenna, he didn’t want to review them before being presented. He did, however, object to them being shown saying they show prejudice. The judge overruled Marks’ motion. Coming back to court, Marks cross examined Dr. Barton. In the cross examination, Marks asked if the bruises, hemorrhages, and bone fractures on Jenna and Michael were done post-mortem – and Barton said this was not done.
The Henrietta, Oklahoma, Walmart AP Operation’s Coach Sam Robertson then took the witness stand. He provided the court video surveillance from January 2019. Court is now on recess for Marks to look over the footage.
On Monday, April 24, Temple PD Crime Scene Technician Kelsey Kemp was the first witness on stand. She photographed Michael Swearingin’s home on January 8. She also took photographs of Marks’ girlfriend, Rebecca Addney, at 2202 Mikulec Drive in Killeen on January 10.
Former Hughes County Oklahoma Undersheriff Cullen Fowler came to the witness stand after recess. He went through a picture slideshow with the prosecutors over a specific location he was told where Swearingin and Scott’s bodies were buried.
Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations Special Agent Kirk Titsworth came next to the witness stand. He continued on from Fowler’s testimony of the burial location through a picture slideshow. As more of the pictures got closer to unearthing the burial site, Jenna’s mom had to leave the courtroom.
In the end, Angela Berg – Forensic Anthropologist with the Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s Office – came to the witness stand with pictures of excavating Jenna and Michael. Berg said they were buried in a 6 x 3 shallow grave being nearly two feet in depth.
In Marks’ cross examination, he questioned Titsworth to find the shovel located 50-70 feet away from the property on January 14, 2019 was not taken into exhibition for examination. Marks questioned Berg if she could confirm what type of shovel was used to bury the bodies and was unable to do so, however Berg believes it was a flathead shovel.
At the end of Monday, April 24, the judge held a discussion on how much longer this trial would last. The prosecution said it can stretch into the second week of May.
As of just before 1 p.m. on Friday, April 21, City of Austin Crime Scene investigator John Prata was the first witness on stand for the day. He processed Swearingin’s Hyundai Genesis in a car lot after Austin PD impounded the vehicle. In Prata’s processing, he swabbed the car and did latent tape prints to gather fingerprints and DNA from Swearingin’s car. He also collected wrappers left in Swearingin’s car door for detectives to do lab testing on.
Prata noticed the driver’s floor mat in Swearingin’s car was not in the vehicle. Running tests on the latent print cards, Prata did not find fingerprints on the indoor driver handle of Swearingin’s car, nor the radio system.
City of Austin Latent Print Supervisor/Forensic Science Service Department Leader Tyler Belknap took to the witness stand next. He found no matches from the latent prints Prata gathered. Belknap says he then moved the prints into the unsolved database system.
Around 1:45 p.m. on April 21, John Ray Morrison – field service engineer for Hyundai Genesis – was the 16th witness to take the stand. He provided location data for each time Swearingin’s car was turned on on January 3.
As of around 1:50 p.m. on April 21, CEFCO Director of Loss Prevention Steve Kaplan was on the witness stand. He’s provided the court footage of Swearingin’s car at the W. Adams Avenue CEFCO gas station in Temple from January 3. Court then went on break for Marks to look over the footage.
First Baptist Church Director of Operations David Bandy later came to the witness stand. He gave the court surveillance footage from the afternoon of January 3 of a white vehicle driving back and forth in the parking lot to a spot adjacent to where Swearingin’s home can be seen. The overall footage of the white SUV doing this is from 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.
In a motion of litany to prevent witness prejudice, Danielle Kemp came to the stand to testify she saw Marks in the white SUV on First Baptist Church Temple grounds when the SUV was facing Adams Street – across from where Swearingin’s home was located. Marks requested to disqualify Kemp as a witness – claiming she saw him for a split second making not enough time while driving to make concrete certainty. The judge overruled Marks’ request.
As of around 10:35 a.m. on Thursday, April 20, Swearingin’s girlfriend Rachel Foster was still on the witness stand. She went over text messages she sent Michael, saying they were unusual for Michael to send. Many in the courtroom, including Rachel, got emotional reading the messages.
Rachel said Michael called Marks after Marks saw a Facebook post Michael made about love. Marks then called Jenna threatening to blackmail her, believing Michael’s Facebook post was about Michael being in love with Jenna. To fix this, Rachel said Michael called Marks to make amends and was then threatened by Marks.
Eric Whitman, the eighth witness, later took the stand on Thursday. He is the former co-owner of Full Circle Bar, located at S. 12 Street in Austin – where Swearingin’s car was located. With prosecutors, Whitman has surveillance footage of January 3rd and 4th. Court went to break as Marks looked over the footage.
On Wednesday, April 19, Russell Kurtz was the fourth witness to take the stand. He went through how he looked through Swearingin’s bank account, laptop and security system to find where Michael and Jenna Scott were located. He also aided in building the community timeline of Jenna and Michael’s whereabouts.
Richey Davis was the fifth person on the witness stand. He’s a childhood friend of Michael Swearingin. Davis confirmed the security activity log of Michael’s home from January 3rd. In tracking down the car to Austin, Davis said Michael’s car was left unlocked when found. Davis said that wasn’t a coming thing for Michael to do, and Michael had no spare car key. Before recess, Davis told the prosecutors he reached out to Swearingin’s neighbors to see if they had footage. He found video from January 3rd that evening of a white vehicle near Swearingin’s home. Davis said the neighbors didn’t recognize the vehicle driving back and forth.
Kayla Reece was the sixth witness to take the stand. She was a neighbor diagonal to Swearingin’s home.
Around 11:25 a.m. on Tuesday, April 18, the third witness to take the stand was Michael Swearingin’s friend, Corey Cross. Cross says Michael liked to let others know what was going on, and was very communicative and responsive. “Swearingin was everybody’s best friend,” said Cross.
Cross discussed the community timeline him and the rest of Swearingin and Scott’s family and friends put together detailing Jenna and Michael’s activities of January 3, 2019. Cross mentioned how security records were visible to see activity in Michael’s house, and that vivint at Swearingin’s home was accessed to delete the January 3rd camera footage from 8:30-8:43 PM from Michael’s Google account.
Marks was denied bringing forth one of his exhibits after Corey alleges he saw video of Marks recording Jenna after taking her out of a car. The court then went through doorbell footage of when Swearingin and Scott were last seen on video.
Prosecutors gave opening statements in the trial on Monday, April 17. They provided information on Marks and Maxwell being found near at a Walmart in Henrietta, Oklahoma – where they purchased clothes and a shovel to bury Michael Swearingin and Jenna Scott.
Marks said he would put forth his own evidence to maintain innocence, and to also cross examine everyone who takes the witness stand.
Michael Swearingen’s mother, Deborah Harrison, gave remarks of Swearingen – saying Marks threatened him on court grounds during Scott’s protective hearing in 2018. Jenna Scott’s mother Karen took to the witness stand – sharing that she knew well of Jenna and Mark’s relationship. Karen said Jenna spoke of Mark physically and emotionally abusing her.
As of around 2:45 p.m. on April 17, Marks cross examined Karen and was planning to bring forth exhibits for the jury.
Marks is accused of killing Jenna Scott and Michael Swearingin, who were both reported missing from Temple on January 4th, 2019. Investigators later found their bodies in Oklahoma. Scott and Marks were at one time romantically involved, but had broken up. Swearingin and Scott were longtime friends.
Marks is representing himself, with the help of John P. Galligan. Marks fired his attorneys and petitioned to represent himself in 2021. Marks pleaded not guilty to all charges – including burglary and capital murder. If found guilty, Marks faces life in prison or the death penalty.
During almost two months of selection, Marks and the prosecution interviewed close to 200 potential jury members. On April 10, they made their final cuts for the jury and alternates.
Marks’ co-defendant is Maya Maxwell, who 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 three years old – and, at last report, is in foster care.