Motions hearing reassigned in case of man accused of killing pregnant teacher, unborn child

Motions hearing reassigned in case of man accused of killing pregnant teacher, unborn child

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A motions hearing that was scheduled to happen Thursday for a former school administrator accused of killing a pregnant teacher was reassigned.

An assistant district attorney reported Robert Marks, 39, withdrew a motion previously filed for a speedy trial and filed new motions. A hearing date on the new motions has not been set.

Marks is charged with second-degree murder and first-degree feticide for the deaths of Lyntell Washington, 40, and her unborn baby. Washington was reported missing the morning of June 9 after her 3-year-old daughter was found in Baton Rouge alone near her vehicle, which had blood inside it.

Authorities began search efforts for Washington, who was once named "Teacher of the Year" and was a teacher at Brookstown Middle Magnet Academy at the time of her death. Crews were deployed in the air, on land and in the water for much of the day Friday, searching five key areas across south Louisiana, including Baker, Zachary, Baton Rouge, St. Francisville, and Ramah. The multi-agency search was temporarily suspended at nightfall on June 10.

Marks was the assistant principal of the Baton Rouge middle school where Washington worked, and DNA evidence revealed he fathered Washington's baby. Marks is married to another woman, and police suspect he might have been fearful his wife would find out he had gotten Washington pregnant, according to police records.

Police said cell phone records show Marks' phone as well as a phone belonging to Washington were in the Ramah area around 9:45 p.m. Wednesday, June 8. Both phones were in that area for about 15 minutes before returning to Baton Rouge, according to police documents. Lionel Burns, Marks' defense attorney, said the case against Marks is circumstantial. The attorney believes technology used to track a cell phone's location is not sound enough to hold up in court. It is those cell phone records he said he seeks to suppress.

"You'll find some courts accept it and some don't," said Burns over the phone Wednesday.

Burns also called into question the potential testimony of Washington's young child which police records show indicated Marks early in the investigation. According to the probable cause report, the child told investigators that "'Mr. Robbie' hurt her mother and was now sleeping." It also revealed the child was with her mother and Marks "when she heard a 'bang' and after the bang her mom was 'shaking.' She also stated her mom's in the lake and that it was dark outside when her mom got hurt."

A grand jury formally indicted Marks on the charges in October.  He pleaded not guilty.

A trial date has not yet been set.

Copyright 2017 WAFB. All rights reserved.