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Taylor M. MARKS





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Parricide - To inherit
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: October 24, 2009
Date of arrest: Next day
Date of birth: March 29, 1989
Victim profile: Kristie E. Marks, 58 (her mother)
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife
Location: Summit County, Ohio, USA
Status: Plead guilty. Sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole on September 28, 2010
photo gallery

Akron woman sentenced to life in prison

By Ed Meyer -

September 29, 2010

A 21-year-old Akron woman was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison with no chance of parole after pleading guilty to aggravated murder in the 2009 plot to kill her mother.

In exchange for the guilty plea from Taylor M. Marks, who tearfully told the court she was willing to testify against others possibly involved in the plot but not yet charged, prosecutors requested the dismissal of a death-penalty specification.

Summit County Common Pleas Judge Tom Parker granted the request, but before doing so, told family members and friends of the victim, Kristie Marks, that he struggled with the decision.

''This is a sad day in Akron, Ohio,'' Parker said, addressing those who filled nearly three rows of benches in the public gallery.

''In many ways, it's a tragic day, because not only are we coming to grips as a court and a community with the loss of Kristie Marks, we now must come to grips with our loss of Taylor Marks from this community.

''Many people think that a sentence of life without parole is actually a more harsh sentence than a death sentence,'' Parker added, turning his attention to the defendant, ''because the reality is that it is a form of a death sentence. You will never again enjoy the freedom that the rest of us take for granted.''

The judge took considerable steps, as he did earlier in the case with a co-defendant, to ensure that Marks understood she was giving up her rights to a jury trial, the possibility of a lesser sentence in the penalty phase of a trial and any appeals of her plea.

As Marks stood before the bench between her attorneys, Parker also asked whether she understood her life would come to an end ''at the hand of the state, in prison?''

She immediately replied: ''Yes, your honor.''

Marks, a 2008 Copley High School graduate who attended the University of Akron, was indicted in November on a charge of aggravated murder with a death-penalty specification under Ohio's murder-for-hire law.

According to Akron police, she was the motivating force in the plot to kill her mother.

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

A telephone call from her daughter lured her there, police said.

Troy A. Purdie II, 20, who avoided the death penalty by pleading guilty to aggravated murder, admitted to the stabbing during his final court hearing last month.

He had been promised a payment of $5,000, according to evidence placed on the record, but he never received it.

Marks' boyfriend, Brian Scott Smith, 23, is awaiting trial as the third alleged conspirator in the plot. He also is charged with aggravated murder, but is not facing the death penalty. His trial is scheduled for Nov. 15.

As Taylor Marks read from a handwritten statement near the end of Wednesday's hearing, sobbing throughout, she began by saying: ''Today, I got what I deserve for my actions. I lost control of my state of mind, over something small, and took it out on [my mother].''

She concluded by asking for the forgiveness of God and her mother's family and friends.

''I will always love you. You will always be in my thoughts and prayers,'' she said before being led away.

Whatever set the plot in motion has not been explained.

A Victim Services official, who assisted the family in court, said the family does not wish to comment about the case until the conclusion of Smith's trial.


Hitman sentenced to life in prison in Akron contract murder

Michael Sangiacomo - The Plain Dealer/

August 25, 2010

AKRON, Ohio — A hitman who murdered a Copley woman was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison with no chance of parole after entering a guilty plea in Summit County Court.

Troy Purdie II, 20, pleaded guilty to aggravated murder in the death of Kristie Marks, 58, of Copley Township, who was stabbed 13 times on Oct. 24.

The Summit County Prosecutor’s office said Purdie was hired to kill the woman by the victim’s daughter, Taylor Marks, in collusion with the daughter’s boyfriend, Brian Smith, after a money dispute.

He was to be paid $5,000 for killing the woman, who operated a home health care business. He was never paid for the killing.

Marks, 20, and Smith, 22, both of Akron, are awaiting trial.

By pleading guilty, Purdie avoided the possibility of a death sentence.

Police said the three suspects were at the scene of the crime when officers arrived and were taken into the police station for questioning.

Their version of events differed. Taylor Marks eventually admitted what she did and implicated the other two, investigators said. Smith and Purdie also confessed under questioning, police said.

The case was solved in less than four hours.


Defendant in ‘murder-for-hire’ over inheritance case pleads guilty

Murder-for-hire defendant pleads guilty; victim’s daughter awaits trial

Ed Meyer - Akron Beacon Journal

August 24, 2010

One of three co-defendants in a murder-for-hire case pleaded guilty to the crime and was sentenced Tuesday morning to life in prison with no chance of parole.

Troy A. Purdie II, who turned 20 on Aug. 15, pleaded guilty to a single count of aggravated murder in the 2009 stabbing death of 58-year-old Kristie Marks. Her daughter, Taylor, is being held in the Summit County Jail on charges of plotting the slaying with Purdie and her boyfriend.

In exchange for Purdie’s plea, prosecutors agreed to dismiss a death penalty specification, and Summit County Common Pleas Judge Tom Parker accepted the recommendation for resolving part of the case.

Parker did so only after saying he had ”wrestled at great length” with the decision.

The principle issue confronting him, Parker said, was whether he should reject the plea deal, avoiding a capital murder trial, ”because I do think in a situation like this, where people plan to kill somebody, then carry out the plan, the sense of outrage in the community is something you can almost taste.

”As a civilized society, it seemed to me that society ought to have a say in whether the death penalty would be imposed,” he said.

But in the end, Parker said, he felt that accepting the deal was ”appropriate” because the cost of following through with a death penalty case and its appeals would be ”astronomical.”

”It has been well documented that the cost of an appeal in such cases is well over a million dollars, spread out over 10 or 20 years,” Parker said.

”And as the prosecutor pointed out this morning, the cost to the family of the victim is probably even higher than that, and they’re already paying an excruciating price.”

Summit County Assistant Prosecutor Brian LoPrinzi told Parker he had consulted with family members and business associates of Kristie Marks and they were in agreement with the deal to avoid having to endure untold years of possible parole hearings in which they would be told by authorities, ”Wait and see. Wait and see.”

The victim’s daughter, Taylor M. Marks, 21, is charged with aggravated murder with a death penalty specification for allegedly hatching the plot.

Parker informed the court that Purdie was promised $5,000 to carry out the slaying but was never paid.

Kristie Marks, who operated a thriving home health-care business in Medina, was stabbed Oct. 24 at an apartment building in the 900 block of Springdale Drive in Akron after allegedly being lured there by her daughter.

Purdie was accused of stabbing Kristie Marks near the North Hill-area apartment parking lot and fleeing.

Akron police investigators allege that Taylor Marks, a 2008 Copley High graduate who attended the University of Akron in the spring of 2009, was the motivating force in the plot so that she could inherit her mother’s money.

Brian S. Smith, the 23-year-old boyfriend of Taylor Marks, also is being held at the jail on a charge of aggravated murder. He is not facing the death penalty.

Family members and business associates of Kristie Marks were present in court for Purdie’s plea but did not wish to comment at this stage of the proceedings, a Victim Services official said.

Taylor Marks is scheduled to go to trial Oct. 24 in Parker’s court. Smith is scheduled for trial in November.

Parker also took considerable steps to ensure Purdie fully understood that he was giving up his right to a jury trial and any possibility of an appeal of his decision and sentence.

”The practical sense of the decision is that you will die in prison. Do you realize that?” Parker asked Purdie.

”Yes,” Purdie replied immediately. He said nothing more.

Given the chance to address the court, Purdie declined as he stood facing the bench.

Parker said Purdie did not agree to testify against his co-defendants as part of his plea negotiations.

LoPrinzi confirmed that part of the plea deal, but told Parker the state could insist Purdie testify by issuing a subpoena.

Afterward, defense attorney Kerry M. O’Brien said Purdie previously had offered no form of apology to Kristie Marks’ family.

”He has always been very, very quiet and soft-spoken,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien and co-counsel Kirk Migdal informed Parker that Purdie had agreed to the plea deal two weeks ago during discussions at the jail.

Purdie agreed to accept the deal and surrender his right to a jury trial, Migdal said, despite the fact he had ”almost no record whatsoever.”


Three arraigned on murder charges

Bond at $1 million for woman accused of plotting to kill mother; 2 others held

By Ed Meyer -

November 14, 2009

A 20-year-old woman and two friends accused of plotting to kill her mother are being held in the Summit County Jail in lieu of $1 million cash bonds after being arraigned Friday on aggravated murder charges.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Taylor M. Marks, formerly of Copley Township, and her friend, Troy A. Purdie II, 19, under the state's murder-for-hire laws.

The third alleged conspirator, Marks' boyfriend, Brian S. Smith, 22, of Akron, is charged with aggravated murder, but he is not facing the death penalty, court records show.

Police have said that Marks offered Purdie $5,000 to kill her mother, businesswoman Kristie Marks, 58, who operated a Visiting Angels home health-care business in Medina.

Kristie Marks was fatally stabbed Oct. 24. Her daughter is accused of luring her to an Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority apartment building in the 900 block of Springdale Drive.

Purdie is accused of stabbing her as she stood near a parking lot.

Taylor Marks and Smith called 911 to report the slaying. Purdie is accused of fleeing the scene, police said.

All three pleaded not guilty Friday in separate video appearances from the jail. Their next court appearance is scheduled for 1 p.m. Nov. 24 before Common Pleas Judge Tom Parker.

The attorneys representing them, court records show, are Lawrence J. Whitney for Taylor Marks; Kerry M. O'Brien for Purdie; and John W. Greven for Smith.

Whitney said it would be inappropriate to comment about the case until he has an opportunity to review the findings of the police investigation.

Investigators from the Akron Police Department have said the plot was designed so that Taylor Marks could inherit her mother's wealth.

Kristie Marks' will, written in 2004 and filed last week in Summit County Probate Court, names her daughter as the sole beneficiary of her personal property and life insurance proceeds. The remaining money is to be placed in a private trust.

Police said the will does not specify the beneficiary of the trust, but investigators suspect that Taylor Marks anticipated receiving the entire estate.

Taylor Marks is a 2008 graduate of Copley High School and attended the University of Akron through last spring. She was adopted as a child by Kristie Marks and her husband, Bruce, who died in 2002.

Investigators said they obtained confessions in the alleged plot within hours of the slaying, based on inconsistencies in the various stories.

Purdie's bloody clothes and a knife were recovered near the scene of the stabbing, police said.


Taylor Marks Accused of Hiring Two Men to Kill Her Mom

By Pete Kotz -

October 27, 2009

On Saturday night, police arrived at an Akron, Ohio parking lot to find Kristie E. Marks bleeding from multiple stab wounds. The 58-year-old woman was moved to a hospital, where she was later pronounced dead.

Her daughter Taylor, 20, is now in jail, accused by detectives of offering two men $5,000 to murder her mom. Also charged in the case are Troy A. Purdie, 19, Brian S. Smith, 20.

So say Akron police, who found the wounded Kristie Marks in an apartment building parking lot. Taylor summoned them by calling 911 to say her mom had been attacked. ''My mother has been stabbed in the parking lot,'' she told the dispatcher. ''...Someone just ran up behind my mom and stabbed her.''

She claimed that her boyfriend, Brian Smith, and his buddy, Troy Purdie, then chased the mysterious attacker. So police took them all downtown for statements.

But our conspirators weren't too bright. Cops say there were inconsistencies in their stories. Within hours, all three had confessed to plotting the murder for weeks.

Under their pact, Taylor was hoping to collect a big inheritance, with which she'd pay Purdie $5,000 for helping with the hit. Her father died in 2002, and her mother operated a home health-care franchise. Detective James Pasheilich says the girl believed the murder would leave her sitting pretty:

''Marks admitted that she was upset with her mother [and] wanted her mother dead,'' Pasheilich told the Akron Beacon-Journal. ''[Taylor] mentioned that her mom has money and has a will and that she believes that her name's on the will because she saw it. More or less, it comes down to money."

Police say Kristie Marks arrived at the apartment building where she was murdered intent on helping her 20-year-old daughter out of yet another jam. She was a wealthy women -- at least by the impoverished standards of Northeast Ohio. 

She'd inherited money after the death of her husband in 2002, and owned a Visiting Angels home health-care franchise. Her suburban Akron home was worth $300,000, which put her well into the upper-middle class in this area south of Cleveland.

Friends and family say she lavished love and money on her daughter, who graduated from Copley High School last year. "She overly loved her daughter,'' her brother Jeffrey Buckholder told the Akron Beacon Journal. ''I'm not going to say she smothered her, but Taylor, I'm sure, lived well. I never would have dreamt this.''

The family drove expensive cars and owned horses. Taylor briefly took classes at the University of Akron. She says on her MySpace page that Mom planned to give Taylor her business "after I graduate from college.

But sometime in the past few months mom and daughter had a falling out. Taylor began dating Brian Smith, and eventually moved in with him and his mom Tammy in a public housing project in Akron. Tammy Smith found the girl ''a little bit whiny and spoiled.'' Meanwhile, friends were warning Kristie that her daughter was using her.

Jeff Sigle thought Taylor held a suburban girl's attraction to Akron's ghetto life, which meant mom was traveling the city's worst neighborhoods whenever Taylor needed bailing out. 

''I kept telling Kristie to think the worst in every situation, you're being conned, you're being duped,'' says Sigle, Kristie's friend. ''I told her to watch out for them, don't tread down there by yourself, don't go looking, don't get lured. For a girl who went from having everything she wants to living in that kind of situation, there's got to be a reason. It just doesn't happen and it doesn't happen overnight.''

But Kristie apparently couldn't think the worst of her daughter. Now she's dead because of it.


Plot to kill mother was ongoing

By Phil Trexler - Beacon Journal staff writer

Oct 26, 2009

An Akron woman plotted for some time with her boyfriend and his buddy to have her mother killed in order to collect from an inheritance, police said today.

Within four hours of the stabbing death of Kristie Marks, the scheme collapsed with confessions to detectives from the daughter and her friends, police said.

Taylor Marks, 20; her boyfriend, Brian S. Smith, 20; and their friend, Troy Purdie, 19, are each . They are being held in the Summit County Jail.

An autopsy is being performed today on Kristie Marks, 58, at the Summit County Medical Examiner's Office.

The death unfolded Saturday night about 8 in the parking lot of a Springdale Street apartment complex in Akron where Taylor Marks and Smith lived together with his mother.

An emotional Taylor Marks called 911 after the stabbing.

''My mother has been stabbed in the parking lot,'' she says in a recorded call with a police dispatcher. '' . . . someone just ran up behind my mom and stabbed her . . . ''

Marks told the dispatcher that Smith and Purdie chased the assailant. Police found Kristie Marks on the ground and bleeding from multiple stabs wounds. She was pronounced dead at Akron City Hospital.

Taylor Marks, Smith and Purdie were taken to Akron police headquarters for interviews about the attack. They talked to authorities in separate rooms.

Detective James Pasheilich said inconsistencies between the three led them to question the veracity of the statements. Within four hours of the homicide, all three confessed to plotting the killing for at least two weeks, police said.

''They were talking about it for a while,'' Pasheilich said. ''These three admit that they had spoken and talked numerous times about doing this.''

Taylor Marks, whose father died in 2002, stood to collect a significant inheritance with her mother's death, police said. Kristie Marks also operated a home health-care franchise business.

Taylor Marks offered Purdie $5,000 to kill her mother and he has confessed to the stabbing, police said.

''Marks admitted that she was upset with her mother [and] wanted her mother dead,'' Pasheilich said. ''[Taylor] mentioned that her mom has money and has a will and that she believes that her name's on the will because she saw it.

''More or less, it comes down to money."



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