Trial delayed in alleged inheritance-motivated murder-for-hire case

‘Devastating’ evidence delays murder-for-hire trial
Ed Meyer
January 11, 2011
Akron Beacon Journal

New evidence described in court papers as ”devastating” to the last of three co-defendants in the 2009 slaying of Kristie Marks has pushed back the trial date to March.

Brian Scott Smith, 23, originally was scheduled for trial in the murder-for-hire case on Monday in Summit County Common Pleas Court before Judge Tom Parker.

But the trial was moved to March 14 after Smith and his attorney, John W. Greven, made a brief appearance before Parker Tuesday afternoon to put the issue on the record.

Greven said he picked up the new evidence at the prosecutor’s office on Jan. 5 and needed more time to go over it with Smith.

After Tuesday’s hearing, Greven said outside court that he was made aware of the new evidence over the Christmas holiday, but declined to elaborate.

Asked whether the evidence was physical or testimonial in nature, Greven said it would be inappropriate to comment before the case goes to trial.

Marks, who operated the Visiting Angels home health-care business in Medina, was stabbed to death Oct. 24, 2009, in a parking lot at an apartment building on Springdale Drive.

She was lured there by her daughter, Taylor M. Marks, who was Smith’s former girlfriend.

Taylor Marks, 21, has already admitted orchestrating the plot.

She was sentenced to life in prison, without any chance of parole, after pleading guilty to aggravated murder during an emotionally charged hearing Sept. 29 in Parker’s court.

A cousin of the victim, Richard Horning of Copley Township, told Taylor Marks to remember one thing while spending the rest of her life in prison: ”You killed the one person in this world who truly, unconditionally loved you.”

On Aug. 24, Troy A. Purdie II, 20, who admitted to the stabbing, also was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole after he pleaded guilty to aggravated murder.

According to jail records, Taylor Marks was brought back to the county from state prison on Jan. 5 — the same day that Greven said he picked up the new evidence.

Summit County Assistant Prosecutor Brian LoPrinzi, the government’s lead counsel in the cases against all three defendants, declined to comment about the new evidence, or the possibility that Marks would testify if Smith goes to trial.

However, at her September hearing, Marks vowed to the judge, as part of her plea deal, that she would testify against others possibly involved in the plot.

The circumstances of why Marks wanted to kill her mother have never been fully explained in previous hearings. Akron police investigators have said that Taylor Marks, a 2008 Copley High graduate who later attended the University of Akron, plotted the murder with the idea of inheriting her mother’s money.