Robert Javontie Marks is facing murder charges related to the death of Baton Rouge teacher Lyntell Washington. Allegedly, Marks killed the pregnant woman to hide their extramarital affair.
Marks, the assistant principal at the middle school where Washington worked, was jailed earlier this week on a kidnapping charge. Baton Rouge, Louisiana, police charged Marks, 39, with first-degree murder and first-degree feticide on Friday.
On June 14, a partially decomposed body was found in a ditch in Iberville Parish, west of Baton Rouge. Using dental records and DNA analysis, the East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner’s office verified the remains as belonging to Washington. Their report revealed that the 40-year-old woman died from a gunshot wound to the head and determined her death to be a homicide.
Just five days before her remains were discovered, Washington’s 3-year-old daughter was found alone near her mother’s abandoned car. Marks was arrested and charged with aggravated kidnapping and child desertion for leaving the girl unattended.
A police report stated the daughter was with Marks and her mother when she heard a loud “bang.” After the noise, the girl said her mom started “shaking” and then went to sleep. The girl also told investigators that it was dark at the time her mother got hurt.
The young girl described Marks trying to clean up blood and that her mother was “in the lake.” Blood evidence as well as a sandal that matched one found on Washington’s body were found inside the vehicle.
However, police have not definitely determined where the shooting happened and no gun has been found.
As reported by CBS News, Washington was pregnant with Marks’ child and intended to tell his spouse about the sexual relationship. Investigators have confirmed Marks knew Washington was five months pregnant.
Cell phone records indicate both Marks’ phone and Washington’s phone were in an area, about 25 miles from Baton Rouge just before 10 p.m. on June 8. The couple appeared to be in that area for less than 30 minutes before heading back to Baton Rouge. According to a statement from Marks, the pair was at a Wal-Mart about 8 p.m. that night.
Text messages between Marks and Washington were discovered by police. One message from Washington asked Marks if he was trying to avoid taking responsibility for their unborn child.
“He didn’t want anyone to know,” said Police Clp. L’Jean McKneely, Jr.
Marks has no previous criminal record, but faces the death penalty if convicted of the murders. The assistant principal did admit to the affair with Washington, yet refused to answer any other questions.
“We continue to press him for information and still no answer and still no emotion,” McKneely said. “No words. No emotion. No nothing. Just a blank stare.”
Lionel Lon Burns, the attorney for Marks, defended his client by denying any involvement with Washington’s death. Burns insists that his client and the deceased teacher were only friends, but would not comment on Washington’s unborn child.
“I’ll let the Baton Rouge Police Department provide the sensationalism. I’ll let the facts come out in court,” he said.
Washington’s wife remains confident her husband is innocent, Burns added.
Marks is an ex-Marine who earned a doctorate in education. Besides working as an assistant principal, he has held other administrative positions with the Baton Rouge school district in the past.
Lyntell Washington, an instructional specialist at Brookstown Magnet Honors Academy, was the 2014-2015 Teacher of the Year, according to the East Baton Rouge School System. Spokeswoman Adonica Pelichet Duggan said Robert Marks is currently on administrative leave.
[Photo by East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office/AP Images]