The wife of the Baton Rouge school administrator accused of murdering a pregnant co-worker said she’s standing by her husband — but isn’t certain if he’s innocent in the slaying.
“I’m hoping that it all turns out well. I can’t say, ‘Oh, he definitely didn’t do this.’ I don’t know,” Kala Marks said Monday. “I’m just really confused.”
Her husband, 39-year-old Robert Marks, was booked Friday on counts of first-degree murder and first-degree feticide after the body of Lyntell Washington, a 40-year-old co-worker at Brookstown Middle Magnet School, was found June 13 in a ditch in a sugar cane field.
Marks was first arrested June 9, hours after Washington’s 3-year-old daughter was found wandering near her mother’s abandoned and blood-splattered car.
Washington was seven months pregnant with a child believed to be fathered by Marks. Baton Rouge police have said an apparent affair between Marks and Washington could have soured recently, possibly giving Marks a motive in the slaying.
Kala Marks said Monday, shortly after taping an interview for the “Nancy Grace” show, that she loves her husband and described the days since his arrest as “a nightmare.”
“I mean he’s my husband. I love him, we have kids together, our marriage was doing fine,” Kala Marks said. “I can’t turn off my love for him just because he’s in jail.”
Washington’s badly decomposed body was found June 14 by sugar cane workers between Roseland and Ramah in Iberville Parish, five days after police found her 3-year-old daughter wandering near her car on Newcastle Avenue in Baton Rouge.
Cellphone records show Marks and Washington were in the Iberville Parish area about 9:45 p.m. on the night she went missing and 15 minutes later traveled to the area in Baton Rouge where the toddler was found, according to a police report.
Kala Marks said she first learned of her husband’s arrest when she arrived at their Zachary home on her lunch break June 9 to find it swarming with police. Officers booked Robert Marks into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison — initially on kidnapping and child desertion counts — the following day.
An autopsy conducted Wednesday showed Washington was shot in the head.
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Kala Marks said of her reaction to the allegations against her husband: “It hurt me. It hurt me to the core, that he was cheating on me and had a child with her.”
But then she said she doesn’t believe her husband of 4½ years was having an affair with Washington. The couple have two young children, now 3 and 6 years old, and returned the Monday before Washington’s disappearance from a vacation cruise with extended family members.
“I don’t believe it because he was with me all the time,” she said. “I don’t see when he would’ve had time to do it. I keep replaying it my head, our marriage.”
Lionel “Lon” Burns, a New Orleans attorney representing Robert Marks, said the alleged affair isn’t relevant to the case against his client and he accused the Baton Rouge Police Department of “sensationalizing” the case.
“That’s not even important. That does not prove anything,” Burns said in response to questions about whether his client was having an affair or if he was the father of Washington’s unborn child. “Let’s move away from the sensationalism.
“Why are they putting that in the public’s mind?” Burns added. “Because they don’t have a good case and they know it. They have a circumstantial case.”
Baton Rouge police believe Washington, an instructional specialist at Brookstown Middle, was pressing Marks to acknowledge the unborn child, something police have speculated he was trying to hide. In a text message to Marks quoted in a police affidavit, Washington asks him if he was trying to avoid responsibility for “our unborn child.”
Burns added: “Whenever they attack Dr. Marks and say he’s a master manipulator … it takes two to be in a relationship. It takes two to tango. If he was in a relationship with her, obviously she bears some responsibility as well.”
During the taped TV interview with Grace, Kala Marks said that on the night Washington disappeared, her husband had told her he was going to watch a basketball game with a friend.
In an interview with The Advocate later Monday, Marks said she was concerned about her husband that night because he was riding his motorcycle and not responding to text messages she was sending him.
She said he came home about 12:15 a.m. but she was asleep and didn’t notice much about him. He left before she got up the next morning to get an oil change, Kala Marks said.
Even if her husband is cleared in the case, Kala Marks said, she can’t imagine her life ever returning to normal.
“I have two kids that keep asking for their daddy. I don’t know what to do,” she said. “It’s not a good situation at all.”
Burns said the discovery of Washington’s body in a ditch in the Iberville Parish sugar cane field “discredited” a key police witness, Washington’s 3-year-old daughter, who told police “Mr. Robbie” hurt her mother, who was now “in the lake” and “sleeping,” according to a police report.
Burns also criticized police for not discovering Washington’s body earlier, saying evidence was likely lost as her body decomposed in the elements. Authorities spent June 10 looking in swamps, fields and woods in Iberville Parish for the body but called off the search at nightfall.
“At this point (the police) have a 3-year-old child that doesn’t know the difference between a field and a body of water,” Burns said. “They’re blowing their own case.”
A Baton Rouge police spokesman declined to respond to Burns’ comments.
“I’ve been hurt, sad, confused,” Kayla Marks said. “There’s a lot going on in my head right now.”
Follow Bryn Stole on Twitter, @BrynStole.