Akron woman sentenced to life in prison
By Ed Meyer - Ohio.com
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
''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
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,
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
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
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
Michael Sangiacomo - The Plain Dealer/Cleveland.com
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
He was to be paid $5,000 for killing the woman, who
operated a home health care business. He was never paid for the
Marks, 20, and Smith, 22, both of Akron, are
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
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,
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
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
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
Afterward, defense attorney Kerry M. O’Brien said
Purdie previously had offered no form of apology to Kristie Marks’
”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
Three arraigned on murder charges
Bond at $1 million for
woman accused of plotting to kill mother; 2 others held
By Ed Meyer - Ohio.com
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
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
By Pete Kotz - TrueCrimeReport.com
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
''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
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
''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
By Phil Trexler -
Beacon Journal staff writer
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.
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
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
''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.
less, it comes down to money."