Trial date set for former school administrator accused of killing pregnant teacher

Lyntell Washington at Teacher of the Year Ceremony (Source: East Baton Rouge Parish School System)
Lyntell Washington at Teacher of the Year Ceremony (Source: East Baton Rouge Parish School System)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - In less than a year, a former school administrator will stand trial for allegedly killing a pregnant teacher.

Robert Marks, 40, is charged in the shooting death of Lyntell Washingston, 40, the pregnant Baton Rouge school teacher found murdered in June 2016. Washington was reported missing the morning of June 9, 2016 after her 3-year-old daughter was found in Baton Rouge alone near her vehicle, which had blood inside it.

Marks is charged with second-degree murder and first-degree feticide. If convicted, he could face life in prison.

On Monday, Judge Beau Higginbotham set the trial date for August 6, 2018.

Marks is currently free on $500,000 bond.

In January 2017, his defense attorney, Lionel Burns, filed a motion to suppress some cell phone tracking evidence. He believes technology used to track a cell phone's location is not sound enough to hold up in court.

"You'll find some courts accept it and some don't," Burns said in January.

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. on June 8, 2016. Both phones were in that area for about 15 minutes before returning to Baton Rouge, according to police documents.

Burns also called into question the potential testimony of Washington's young child. 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."

Washington 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, June 10, 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. Her body was eventually found on Tuesday, June 14 in a ditch in Rosedale in Iberville Parish.

The autopsy revealed Washington died from a gunshot wound to the head. Her body was so badly decomposed that officials needed DNA samples to make a positive identification. Dr. Beau Clark, the coroner of East Baton Rouge Parish, said there was no trauma to the baby, who "died as a result of the mother's death."

Marks was the assistant principal of the middle school in Baton Rouge 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.

Copyright 2017 WAFB. All rights reserved.