Fugitive MMA Fighter Cedric Marks Captured, Facing Murder Charges

Cedric Marks
Cedric Marks, competing in his lone fight for Bellator MMA Credit: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com

Journeyman fighter Cedric Marks made headlines Sunday after escaping a prison transport, and after a nine hour manhunt, was back in custody — with multiple murder charges awaiting him.

In July of 1998, Cedric Marks fought four times in an evening for Power Ring Warriors. He won three of those bouts, before being submitted by Anthony Macias in the fourth. It was the start of a mixed martial arts career that lasted two decades — and ended with a pair of murder charges, an escape attempt, and a host of unanswered questions.

On Sunday, Marks, now 44 years old, escaped a privately operated prison transport while being extradited to Bell County, Texas. He’d been picked up in Michigan, wanted on charges of breaking into ex-girlfriend Jenna Scott’s home, where he demanded she drop assault charges against him. That was back in August 2018.

Nine hours after his escape, Marks was back in custody. He’d been caught after an extensive search involving K-9 units, and was eventually found hiding in a trash can, according to Conroe Police, who handled media for the case. The saga, however, was far from over. During his time on the run, it was revealed that warrants had been issued for Marks on two charges of murder.

In January, Jenna Scott, 28, along with friend Michael Swearingin, 32, were found dead in Clearview, Oklahoma days after being reported missing. Marks was the prime suspect, but was not linked to the case until Mark’s wife, Ginell McDonough, and acquaintance Maya Maxwell entered the picture. Maxwell told authorities working the case that she had helped move the deceased Swearingin’s vehicle in order to prevent police from finding it, according to a report from NBC affiliate K-CEN TV. McDonough was charged with Harboring Marks, who was already wanted for the burglary warrant.

Scott had requested a protective order against Marks in July, and a temporary order was eventually granted. One that had been violated no fewer than three times. The fighter was arrested August 15, 2018, for a violation, and posted $10,000 bond. Due to the most serious violation, the home invasion, an arrest warrant was issued on November 9, 2018 by Bell County Justice of the Peace David Barfield. Most disturbingly, Marks had threatened Scott by telling her that “your entire family and all of your friends will need witness protection if you call the police.”

Scott also claimed the fighter had at times choked her unconscious. Jenna’s brother Talon Scott told reporters in January that his sister had been harassed and blackmailed. Sadly, it was soon learned that she had been murdered, allegedly by Marks.

The deaths of Jenna Scott and Michael Swearingin are far from Mark’s first brush with the law, and even, possibly, murder. In 2007, Marks was found not guilty of assault, stemming from a 2004 altercation at a Copperas Cove City Park pool. There, he wound up striking a man Marks claimed had used a racial slur against him, calling him a “black motherf*cker.” The dispute started when the victim asked Marks to turn off the ignition of his vehicle, which was idling in a parking lot outside the park pool. Marks had refused, and claimed victim Steven Doyle began banging on his window. Things quickly escalated. Marks insisted Doyle swung first.

“When I grabbed him after he swung at me, I was not trying to hurt him, I was trying to restrain him, but he just kept fighting me. At that point I realized I was going to have to do something,” Marks was reported as having said by the Killeen Daily Herald in 2007, when the case wrapped up.

If that had been an isolated incident, it might have been overlooked. Yet Marks is also a person of interest in the disappearance of April Pease in 2009. Pease mothered one of Mark’s children, and like Scott, had accused him of physical violence. While in the midst of a custody dispute with Marks, Pease vanished, and has not been heard from since.

Marks, nicknamed ‘Spider-Man,’ never made it to the big leagues, though he flirted with it. The closest he came was an appearance at Bellator 20 in 2010, part of the preliminary card. Marks was submitted by Andrew Chappelle. As they do today, however, Bellator often booked regional fighters on the preliminary cards of their events. Cedric Marks, therefore, was never really a Bellator MMA fighter. Just a one-and-done in the promotion, never to be brought back. Yet it’s an eerie coincidence, given the promotion also saw Alexis Vila and War Machine fight under its banner.

Cedric Marks would finish out his MMA run going 0-6, with his last official fight coming last March. Bobby Voelker, Travis Lutter, Shannon Ritch, Pete Spratt, and Dennis Hallman are among the notable names that pepper his record. At 31-27, 1NC, he fought a lot, but never made waves. Until now.

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