Court

BELTON — A Bell County Jail inmate was officially identified as the father of a child born June 2 to another inmate.

A sample of Cedric Joseph Marks’ DNA taken Aug. 1 in the Bell County Jail confirmed he is the father of Maya Renee Maxwell’s infant son.

Marks claimed Maxwell’s son was his from the very beginning.

“Cedric fully expected the DNA test results,” Michael White, one of Marks’ team of attorneys, said Monday. “He had no doubt that he was the father.”

Taken Aug. 1, White didn’t expect the results to return for six to eight weeks, he said. However, the results were available by Friday evening.

Marks was 44 years old at the time he allegedly committed the double-homicide of Jenna Scott, 28, and 32-year-old Michael Swearingin, Scott’s good friend. He spent his 45th birthday on July 15 in the Bell County Jail.

Maxwell’s 27th birthday on Aug. 9 was also spent in the jail.

Marks, of Killeen, and Maxwell, of Muscogee, Mich., are charged with the double-homicide and tampering with physical evidence — the bodies of Scott and Swearingin.

Both Maxwell and Marks remained Monday as inmates in the Bell County Jail as they go through the process of determining their guilt or innocence.

Parental rights

In early July, nothing had been done to terminate the parental rights of Maxwell or Marks, according to John Lennan, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Family & Protective Services.

Lennan responded Monday to additional questions.

The son of Maxwell and Marks was still in the custody Monday of Child Protective Services, which is where he’s been since his June 2 birth at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center-Temple, he said.

Determining if their rights should be terminated and the child placed for adoption with someone who isn’t a relative “is part of the ongoing court process,” Lennan said.

No answers on where the child custody case stood in the Bell County Attorney’s office were available by press time Monday.

Brittany Darby, Maxwell’s attorney in the CPS custody case, wasn’t available Monday to comment on the DNA results or the status of the case. Her assistant said Darby’s office won’t be able to release any information because of attorney-client privilege.

Some members of Marks’ family expressed their interest in getting the child, White previously said. However, White hasn’t had direct contact with Marks’ family about the CPS matters yet, he said Monday.

The birth of her son wasn’t Maxwell’s first childbirth experience. She gave birth in 2014 to a little girl she gave away, according to her post on blogspot.com when she was known as Maya Rady.

Marks is now the father of at least three children — all boys.

He had custody of two sons, one from his marriage with Ginell McDonough, and one from a relationship with April Pease. Pease was given custody of their son after a custody battle, and then she was reported missing March 17, 2009 — and is still missing. Marks was given custody of that son.

McDonough was charged in Michigan with harboring Bell County fugitives from justice — Maxwell and Marks.

A pretrial settlement conference is set Sept. 12 in the 14th Circuit Court in Michigan, according to online dockets — which means her case might be settled outside of the courtroom.

Maxwell’s future uncertain

Maxwell’s pretrial date is set for 8:45 a.m. on Aug. 30 in Jezek’s courtroom.

Nothing has been discussed yet about any potential maximum sentence cap for Maxwell, who gave the information that led to Marks’ arrest and eventually the discovery of the friends’ bodies in Clearview, Okla., Wade Faulkner, her Salado attorney, said Monday.

However, the Bell County District Attorney’s office will seek the death penalty for Marks if he is convicted of the double-homicide, District Attorney Henry Garza said.

An arrest affidavit said Maxwell helped Marks hide Swearingin’s car in Austin, helped him transport Swearingin and Scott to a residence in Killeen and was in the residence while Marks reportedly killed them. Maxwell’s statement said she helped Marks drive the two bodies to Clearview, where they were placed in a shallow grave.

Faulkner didn’t know if Maxwell’s case will actually go to trial or will result in a plea bargain, he said. He doesn’t expect the death penalty as a sentence.

“She has cooperated thus far, and I expect she will continue to cooperate,” Faulkner said.

Maxwell remained in the Bell County Jail in lieu of bonds that totaled $750,000.

Marks’ multiple bonds total $2,016,500.