The attorneys for Capital Murder suspect Cedric Marks petitioned the court today to throw out the death penalty option if Marks is found guilty.
Marks is accused of killing Jenna Scott and Michael Swearingin more than two years ago.
Scott and her friend Michael Swearingin were both reported missing from Temple on January 4, 2019. Investigators later found their bodies in Oklahoma.
Marks’ attorneys told Judge Steve Duskie of the 426th Judicial District Court that the COVID-19 pandemic has interfered with their ability to investigate the case.
Bell County District Attorney Henry Garza argued the judge should deny the motion, saying the court did not have the authority to preclude the death penalty.
After hearing the attorneys debate the issue, Judge Duskie denied the motion.
The defense also asked the judge to issue a stay in setting a trial date during the COVID-19 pandemic would put everyone’s health at risk. Judge Duskie denied that motion, saying there is no plan to set a trial date for the next three to four months.
Marks has pleaded not guilty to all charges, including burglary and capital murder.
Maya Maxwell is also facing Capital Murder charges for the deaths of Jenna Scott and Michael Swearingin.
She gave birth to Mark’ son in June of 2019. Child Protective Services says it had a court order to take custody of the boy. He is now in foster care and is reportedly doing well.