The wife of capital murder suspect Cedric Marks, charged in Michigan with harboring Bell County fugitives in her Michigan home, had her felony case moved to a higher court.
Ginell McDonough’s pretrial hearing in a Muskegon County courtroom was Friday, and the case was transferred from a district court to a circuit court — a higher one that deals with felony offenses in which someone convicted may be sentenced to prison time, according to a Michigan court official.
The next step is for the case to be set for trial, but no trial date was set Wednesday.
Presiding over the 14th Circuit Court where McDonough’s case will be tried is Judge Annette R. Smedley.
Prosecuting McDonough’s case will be Ben Medema , Muskegon County’s senior assistant prosecuting attorney, records indicated. A call by the Telegram to Medema wasn’t returned by press time Wednesday.
McDonough, a U.S. Army staff sergeant, wasn’t charged with any offenses in Bell County, although Marks and Maya Maxwell were charged with capital murder of multiple persons and tampering with evidence in the Jan. 3 double-homicides of Jenna Scott, 28, and Michael Swearingin , 32. Scott was Marks’ ex-girlfriend and Swearingin was Scott’s friend.
Maxwell is Marks’ pregnant girlfriend. She and Marks are now both inmates in the Bell County Jail. Marks said during an Aug. 15 protective order hearing that he and McDonough had an open marriage, a court transcript said.
Marks already had a Bell County warrant issued for his arrest in connection with the Aug. 21 burglary of Scott’s Temple home, a first-degree felony. He and Maxwell reportedly fled to McDonough’s home, where she hid them until authorities came and arrested them — and her — on Jan. 8.
Marks, represented by Temple attorney Michael White, pleaded not guilty in court to any of the capital, felony or misdemeanor charges against him. Instead, he claims someone else killed the two friends.
A February search of McDonough’s U.S. Army Reserve office in Muskegon found a suitcase in her office with a rifle and forms of identification for Marks in it. Computers and other things were taken and given to the Michigan State Police to examine to see if any crimes possibly committed by Marks could be found on them.
It was unknown at press time if McDonough faces any military charges.
Marks claimed during a protective order hearing requested by Scott that he had no weapons, even though Scott said she’d seen multiple firearms in his home, according to the court transcript.
Although the Muskegon County prosecutors argued with the judge not to reduce her bond, McDonough’s bond was reduced from $75,000 to $10,000 cash or security bond. McDonough was later released from the Muskegon County Jail.
Maxwell reportedly told Temple Police Department investigators where the bodies of Scott and Swearingin would be found, affidavits said. She admitted she was with Marks — the father of her unborn child, Marks recently said.
Maxwell said she was with Marks when the two friends were killed by him in a Killeen residence. She helped transport them by vehicle to Clearview, Okla., and was there when they were buried in a shallow grave in a remote location, investigators were reportedly told.
She also admitted she drove Swearingin’s vehicle to Austin to hide it from law enforcement officers.
It wasn’t until Marks escaped Feb. 3 for about nine hours from a transport company bringing him to Bell County that he was formally charged with capital murder. Marks escaped in Conroe, and multiple law enforcement agencies searched for him until he was found hiding in a 55-gallon trash can behind a man’s home. He was brought back to Bell County by deputies with the Bell County Sheriff’s Department and members of the U.S. Marshals Lone Star Task Force.
Marks’ pretrial court date was May 17, but it was changed to June 27.
Maxwell’s pretrial date was changed from May 24 to June 21.