Police upgrade charges to murder, feticide against asst. principal arrested in death of teacher, unborn child

Police upgrade charges to murder, feticide against asst. principal arrested in death of teacher, unborn child - 6 p.m.
Published: Jun. 17, 2016 at 9:59 PM CDT
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Robert Marks had nothing to say after being charged with murder of Lyntell Washington. (Source:...
Robert Marks had nothing to say after being charged with murder of Lyntell Washington. (Source: Gerron Jordan/WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Police again questioned the man who was arrested in connection with the disappearance of a pregnant teacher whose body was found Tuesday and he now faces more serious charges.

"He refused the answer questions and he asked for his attorney," said BRPD spokesperson L'Jean McKneely. "He has no emotion. We continued to press him for more information and still no answer and still no emotion."

Robert Marks, 39, of Baton Rouge, faces additional charges of first-degree murder and first-degree feticide now that Lyntell Washington, 40, also of Baton Rouge, was positively identified as the badly decomposed body found in a ditch in Rosedale. He had nothing to say after being charged with Washington's murder. He will be re-booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on Friday on the new charges. A conviction on first-degree murder in Louisiana carries the possibility of the death penalty.

"We have all the details that we need, we have all the evidence that we need, that's why he's being charged with those particular crimes and that's why we think he will go to jail and stay in jail for this particular time," says McKneely.

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An autopsy performed by the East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner's Office on Wednesday revealed Washington died from a gunshot wound to the head and, as a result, her unborn child died as well. The coroner said there was no trauma to the fetus.

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 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 is the assistant principal of the Baton Rouge middle school where Washington worked. 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.

Marks was initially arrested on aggravated kidnapping and child desertion charges because Washington's child was left abandoned in a parking lot. 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 that her mom's in the lake and that it was dark outside when her mom got hurt."

McKneely said detectives also learned Marks took Washington's 3-year-old daughter for a ride on Wednesday night and left her unattended in a parking in the 11000 block of Newcastle Avenue.

"The only two words I can come up with is heinous and senseless. Anybody that can commit that type of crime to a female that is pregnant with your child is something that I can't describe. It's something that you don't have word for," said McKneely.

Officials with the East Baton Rouge Parish School System confirmed Washington was the 2014-2015 Teacher of the Year. They also confirmed that Marks is the assistant principal at the same school and has been placed on administrative leave.

EBR Schools Superintendent Warren Drake released a statement about Washington's death.

"We will continue to offer support to Ms. Washington's co-workers and students during this difficult time. We are grateful that now they may begin to find some closure."

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