Robert Jovantie Marks and Lyntell Washington

Robert Jovantie Marks (left) and Lyntell Washington (right)

A former Baton Rouge assistant principal accused of killing a pregnant colleague and dumping her body in an Iberville Parish ditch was indicted for murder and kidnapping charges Tuesday after his case was moved across the river.

Robert J. Marks had been charged in East Baton Rouge Parish, but a judge ruled recently that the case should be moved across the river amid uncertainty where exactly the June 2016 killing happened.

Authorities said they believe Mark, 42, killed Lyntell Washington in East Baton Rouge Parish, dumped her body in Iberville Parish and then left her car with her 3-year-old child inside down the street from Washington’s apartment.

The second-degree murder and feticide charges Marks had faced in East Baton Rouge Parish were dropped following Tuesday’s indictment in Iberville Parish.

Grand jurors in Iberville Parish indicted Marks on more than a half-dozen charges, which include second-degree murder, feticide, two counts of kidnapping, aggravated kidnapping of a child, obstruction of justice and a handful of gun-related infractions.

“We believe that once he has his day in court, a jury will convict him,” said 18th Judicial District Assistant District Attorney Tony Clayton following Tuesday’s hearing.

Marks' lawyer had also pushed for the case to be moved in the neighboring judicial district.

Cellphone records obtained by investigators indicate the shooting could have happened in multiple different places, including the drainage canal in Rosedale where Washington's body was eventually found.

The same records indicate that their cellphones were also active in Iberville Parish the night Washington went missing, according to a police report.

Detectives testified in previous court hearings that they found no indication of a crime scene after searching Marks' Zachary home, Washington's apartment and the landfill near Zachary.

A large amount of blood was also found in Washington's car in an apartment complex parking lot, authorities have said.

Police found her 3-year-old daughter wandering near the parking lot of the apartment complex with her mother's blood on her feet, according to a police report. The girl told investigators she was with her mother and "Mr. Robbie" when she heard a loud noise and saw him trying to clean up blood, the report said.

Washington was a 40-year-old instructional specialist at Brookstown Middle Magnet and was seven months pregnant with Marks' child.

Authorities have speculated Marks, who is married, did not want anyone to know Washington was pregnant with his child.

Marks was fired as an assistant principal at Brookstown Middle Magnet after he was indicted in October 2016. He has denied any involvement in Washington's death.

Marks was booked into the Iberville Parish jail late Tuesday afternoon with bond set at $885,000. Prosecutors had asked for $2 million.


Email Youssef Rddad at yrddad@theadvocate.com, and follow him on Twitter @youssefrddad