Prosecutors seek death penalty for MMA fighter accused of 2 Texas murders

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Cedric Marks in relation to the death of his ex-girlfriend and another man. (Bell County Sheriff's Office)
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Cedric Marks in relation to the death of his ex-girlfriend and another man. (Bell County Sheriff's Office)

An MMA fighter who escaped a jail transport and led officials on a manhunt is facing the death penalty in Texas for the alleged murder of two people whose bodies were found in shallow graves.

Bell County District Attorney Henry Garza announced on Tuesday that his office is seeking the death penalty for 45-year-old Cedric Marks, who tallied a 30-27 record as a professional fighter. His last fight was in March 2018.

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Investigators say that 28-year-old Jenna Scott and 32-year-old Michael Swearingin were murdered in a residence on Jan. 3 in Killeen, Texas. Their bodies were found around a week later in a shallow grave in Clearview, Oklahoma.

Marks led officials on a manhunt in February while being extradited to Texas for the murder charges after being arrested in Michigan on a burglary charge.

Marks escaped a jail transport that was carrying nine other prisoners when it stopped at a McDonald’s in Conroe, Texas on Feb. 3, according to the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office. He fled on foot while wearing an orange jumpsuit and restraints.

Officials found Marks nine hours later hiding in a trash can at a Conroe residence.

Marks had pleaded not guilty to the murders of Swearingin and Scott, his ex-girlfriend. ABC reported in February that the two began dating in 2015 after meeting on Tinder and that Scott filed a protective order against Marks last July, calling him a “master manipulator” in court documents.

“I believe he is a pathological liar," Scott said in those court documents. "I also believe he is a psychopath. He told about me killing pets when he was a child in Oklahoma and that he was in and out of psychiatric facilities during his childhood. He told me he had killed someone in Oklahoma but that he was able to cover it up and that he could do the same here in Texas.”

Marks allegedly broke into Scott’s home last Aug. 21 and threatened her, according to an arrest report.

"You know what I am capable of ... your entire family and all your friends will need witness protection if you call the police,” Marks said after the break-in, according to the arrest report.

According to the Associated Press, Marks’ current girlfriend Maya Maxwell is also facing charges in the murder case, having told officials that she was in the home when Swearingin and Scott were murdered and in Oklahoma when they were buried.

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