Cedric Marks Trial: Witness identifies suspect as driver in vehicle allegedly watching victim’s home

Day 5 of Cedric Marks trail: Witness identifies Marks as the driver in vehicle allegedly...
Day 5 of Cedric Marks trail: Witness identifies Marks as the driver in vehicle allegedly watching Swearingin’s home(KWTX)
Published: Apr. 21, 2023 at 7:46 PM CDT
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TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) - Testimony in the trial of Cedric Marks continued on Friday with a witness who claimed she saw the capital murder suspect inside a vehicle keeping watch over the home of one of the victims.

Marks is accused of killing his ex girlfriend, Jenna Scott, 28, and her friend, Michael Swearingin, 32, whose bodies were found on Jan. 15, 2019, in rural Okfusee County, Oklahoma. Marks, who is representing himself, was arrested on Jan. 8, 2019, in Kent County, Mich., on a Temple burglary warrant stemming from a break-in on Aug. 21, 2018, at Scott’s home.

Day five of testimony began with forensics experts from Austin - John Prata and and Tyler Belknap - who processed Swearingin’s car on Jan 3, 2019. They said they took photos of the car once it was placed in the tow yard and swabbed for DNA samples.

Experts found finger prints on the middle consul and seat belts. However, after running them through the local and federal databases, there were no viable candidates.

Next was field engineer for Hyundai Motor America, John Morrison, who went over the location services of the car. The expert explained once the car turns on, that’s when the GPS captures data.

Between 5:52pm-8:25pm, the car was located at Swearinging’s home. Between 9:52pm-11:46pm, the car was located at 2202 Mikuelc Drive in Killeen.

After the lunch break, two witnesses said they gave camera footage to authorities and testified today to authenticate them.

First was director of loss and prevention, Steven Kaplan, of the CEFCO store on West Adams avenue. He provided footage from Jan 3 2019.

Next was director of operations, David Brandy, with First Baptist Church of Temple. In the footage on January 3, 2019, you see a white SUV was sitting in the church’s parking lot from 11:45am-1:14pm.

Video footage provided by Swearingin’s neighbors show a white SUV drive past Swearingin’s house around nine times the night he went missing.

Prosecutors revealed earlier that day, the area the SUV was parked in the church’s lot was adjacent to Swearingin’s home.

A witness, Danielle Kempf, who works at the church, drove past the SVU as she was leaving for lunch. She said in court that she made eye contact with the African American driver and identified him as Cedric Marks in the car.

Tension grew between the two during the cross examination. Eventually, Marks requested to disqualify Kempf as a witness and the judge denied the request.

During cross examination, the two were making snappy remarks toward each other to the point where prosecutors constantly objected to Marks badgering the witness and the judge had to step in, telling the two to only ask and answer.

Testimony resumes on Monday.