Cedric Marks trial: Capital murder suspect removed from courtroom after profanity-filled outburst

The last half of day eight’s testimony of the Cedric Marks trial was tense in the courtroom.
The last half of day eight’s testimony of the Cedric Marks trial was tense in the courtroom.(KWTX)
Published: Apr. 26, 2023 at 8:00 PM CDT
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TEMPLE Texas (KWTX) - The judge presiding over the capital murder trial of Cedric Marks, who is charged in the murders of his ex girlfriend, Jenna Scott, 28, and her friend, Michael Swearingin, 32, on Wednesday ordered deputies to remove the defendant, who is representing himself, from the courtroom following a profanity-filled outburst.

On the eight day of testimony, Marks directed profanity toward prosecutors, and the judge, after the jury left for recess. He yelled and cursed, telling those in the courtroom how they kept “trying to stop him from doing what he’s trying to do.”

Marks displayed frustration after he failed to get his former girlfriend, Rebecca Adney, to authenticate evidence. The defendant was attempting to admit still photos from a personal video of Scott into evidence, arguing the footage proves why her permanent court order from 2018 was denied. He’s been trying to admit the video into evidence since the start of the trial.

Adney said she has seen this video. However, state prosecutors kept objecting to the way Marks would improperly ask questions to authenticate the evidence.

At one point, he asked Adney, “in the video, did you hear Jenna call me a … ” then uttered a few curse words, which caused immediate objection.

After the outburst, and Marks’ removal, there was a small break in testimony. People inside the courtroom looked stunned and shocked after what they heard.

Adney would go on to testify that Marks started training her at Title Boxing in 2011, and that led to an on-and-off relationship for seven years.

Text messages between Marks and Adney shown in court hinted at a couple in love. Adney provided financial assistance to Marks, and even bought his red Jeep.

Adney said she went to visit her family in Wyoming, then her friends in Las Vegas, in between December 16, 2018 and January 7, 2019. This was during the time Scott and Swearingin went missing. She said at this point, she believed Marks was back in Michigan.

However, she said he was supposed to come back to Texas due to one of his warrants, so she asked him to pick her up from the airport in Austin once she got back from the trip.

Adney said she mailed her spare house key to Marks in Michigan before he returned to Texas.

On December 16, 2018 as Adney was on her trip, she said Marks was texting her, saying he “hoped” to see her when she returned. The witness said this confused her because they’ve already discussed Marks picking her up from the airport and taking her back home.

On January 1, 2019, Marks texted Adney saying, “I used and hurt people and just got away for a while, but this is what it’s come to. This is what I deserve. It’s here and it’s time for me to pay. I used and hurt you, too. Remember who I really am. I have no heart. I’m inhuman. I won’t be seeing you again. I hope it hurts when they shoot me. I hope there’s a hell. I’m a f****** manipulating piece of s*** and you deserve better. I have a long drive tomorrow. Stop texting me, bye.”

During Marks’ cross examination, he asked Adney if the text made her believe that he was going to harm himself due to past experiences, and she said, “yes.”

The two were still in communication after the breakup text. On January 5, 2019, Marks told Adney he would not be able to pick her up because the roads were bad and he was in the ER due to a bicep injury.

Since Adney has knowledge in health and fitness, being a trained MMA fighter, state prosecutors asked her if you could tear your bicep by lifting a vehicle out of mud or lifting 276 pounds of dead weight. She answered that it’s possible. In Swearingin’s autopsy report, it stated he was 276 pounds.

Yet, Marks argued that he never attempted to lift a vehicle, he wouldn’t stretch before workouts with Adney, and that he took torn muscles seriously because he wants to continue fighting. Adney confirmed his statements.

On January 7, 2019, Marks texted Adney about how stressed and scared he was, and not to tell anyone where he was. At this point, it was known to the public that Swearingin and Scott were missing.

Marks texted Adney to express disappointment and disbelief at how he was being made to look like “the monster” for the victims’ disappearance when he had evidence against Scott.

On January 8, 2019, she texted Marks asking if he ever visited her house while she was gone because she noticed something was off when she returned home at 2206 Mikulec Drive in Killeen.

She said a hand towel was missing, a picture of the two on her fridge was gone, and the driver seat of her Toyota RAV 4 SVU was pushed forward. Adney left her spare car key on the kitchen counter while she was away.

Adney also testified her house and car were clean before she left for the trip, but once she returned, her tires were muddy, and it looked like something was spilled on the console.

She stated that a friend told her her light was on while she was away, which confused her, knowing Marks was the only one with a spare key.

A few days later, she also noticed all of her trash bags, her two rolls of black electrical tape, towels and her couch pillow were missing. Adney then discovered her bathroom light wasn’t working because the lightbulb was unscrewed.

Testimony revealed a detective visited the woman’s home on January 10, and Temple Police searched her house with a warrant on January 27.

State prosecutors played video footage from the Walmart in Henrietta, Oklahoma on January 4, 2019. She identified the man wearing a Title sweatshirt as Cedric Marks. The bodies of the victims were found on Jan. 15, 2019, in rural Okfusee County, Oklahoma.

While reviewing footage from Swearingin’s neighborhood during the dates she was out of town, Adney confirmed the vehicle driving past Swearingin’s house several times was her car. State prosecutors pointed out that it looked like there was someone in the passenger seat as well, and she agreed.

Yet, when Marks cross examined her, she agreed with him that the footage was blurry, and it was hard to tell if there were two people in the car. But then Adney agreed that there were two people in the car again when she was cross examined by the prosecution soon after.

Marks cross examined Adney and asked details about their relationship. She stated that she never heard threats from Marks regarding Swearingin and Scott, and that Marks was never violent with her while they were together.

Adney confirmed to Marks that there were no droplets or human fluid once she returned home, and nothing was out of place in her bathroom.

Towards the end of the day, Marks tried several times to admit the still images of the video with Scott, but kept getting denied.

He then said he “Don’t know why the state is trying to hide this from the jury.”

Marks was allowed to speak with council and continue to represent himself. The judge warned Marks about any further outbursts during this trial.

Testimony resumes Thursday.