Marcus Figueroa watched his mother and brother die.
His mother, Roxann Sanchez, had been arguing with Cedric Allen Ricks in their Bedford apartment, and it escalated into a violent fight, Marcus testified Tuesday.
Marcus and Anthony Figueroa, his 8-year-old brother, tried to intervene.
“We told him to stop,” Marcus said. “He went into the kitchen and grabbed a knife out of the drawer, walked up to my mom and stabbed her. I don’t know how many times. She was trying to block it with her hands.”
On Tuesday, Ricks sat quietly at the defense table as Marcus, now 13, described how Ricks killed Sanchez, 30, and Anthony on May 1, 2013, in their apartment in the 1400 block of Park Place Avenue.
An 8-month-old boy, the son of Ricks and Sanchez, was unharmed.
Prosecutors Bob Gill and Robert Huseman are seeking the death penalty for Ricks, who rejected their offer of a sentence of life without parole in exchange for a guilty plea. It is the first time Tarrant County prosecutors have sought the death penalty since 2012, when Steve Lawayne Nelson was sent to Death Row for killing Arlington minister Clint Dobson.
‘Then he stabbed Anthony’
Sanchez had taken her three sons grocery shopping that day, and Marcus and Anthony helped put away the groceries before retreating to their room to play.
Sanchez had put down the baby, Isaiah, to prepare dinner, Marcus testified.
It wasn’t long before the arguing started, followed by their mother’s screams.
They ran out of their room, but after seeing his mother stabbed, Marcus ran back to his bedroom and hid in his closet, holding the door tight as Ricks tried to pull it open. Marcus said he tried to call 911 but could not do that and hold the door closed at the same time.
“When he got the door open, I dropped my phone and grabbed the knife,” Marcus said. “I squeezed the knife, and it cut my hand.”
Marcus ran into the living room where he saw Anthony sprawled on the dining room floor, his face covered in blood. Still alive, Anthony asked Marcus — with Ricks still in pursuit — to call for help.
Ricks pushed Marcus to the ground, stabbing him repeatedly.
“He held my head down with one hand and stabbed me with the other hand,” Marcus testified. “He stabbed me a bunch of times. He didn’t say anything. After he stabbed me he pushed me to the ground. Then he stabbed Anthony. Anthony did not do anything.
“He did not say anything.”
‘A gurgling noise’
Marcus scrambled to get back to his bedroom closet and the phone, but Ricks was quickly on him.
“He saw me and stabbed me again in the back of my neck,” Marcus said. “He still did not say anything. He left me alone because I made a gurgling noise. The same gurgling noise that Anthony made. He stopped stabbing me after I made the noise.”
Ricks went to the kitchen and washed his hands, Marcus testified, leaving the knife behind.
Ricks then took a long shower, Marcus said, before emerging to take a phone call. Marcus said he listened and stayed motionless on the floor, where Ricks had left him.
“I was afraid Cedric would start stabbing me again,” Marcus testified.
Ricks packed some clothes and left.
Marcus said he remained still for a long time after Ricks left, making sure he was gone. Then he found his cellphone and dialed 911, telling the dispatcher what he had just witnessed.
“My mom’s boyfriend just killed my mom and other brother,” said Marcus, according to the 911 call. “Please hurry. Please.”
Wounds close together
When the first police officer arrived and opened the apartment door, Marcus was covered in blood in the doorway, and his mother and brother were on the floor, also drenched in blood, Officer Clayton Baxley testified.
“There was a lot of heavy damage,” Baxley testified. “There were severe lacerations in the back of his head. You could see all the way through to his skull.”
Marcus was taken to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth by helicopter ambulance, Baxley said. Police followed because his assailant had not been caught and they were concerned that he might try to kill Marcus at the hospital, Baxley said.
Less than three hours later, Ricks was in jail after being tracked through his cellphone to Ardmore, Okla. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol found Ricks driving Sanchez’s Nissan Altima and arrested him.
A DNA expert said DNA profiles taken from blood splatters found at the apartment were from Ricks, Sanchez, Anthony and Marcus. The wound patterns for Sanchez and Anthony were numerous and compact, said Tasha Greenberg, a deputy medical examiner for the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office.
The jury saw autopsy photos of both bodies.
“There are a lot of them, and they are all not individually designated,” Greenberg testified. “There were too many of them.”
Ricks’ defense attorneys are Bill Ray and Steve Gordon. Testimony is expected to continue Wednesday in state District Judge Mollee Westfall’s court.