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Scott Cawelti presents ‘Brother’s Blood: The True Story of the Mark Family Murders’

Published: Monday, April 4, 2011

Updated: Tuesday, April 5, 2011 14:04

Scott

BEN WILSON/Northern Iowan

Scott Cawelti, author of “Brother’s Blood: The True Story of the Mark Family Murders,” shared his experience of researching the murders and read from his book last Thursday as part of the Hearst Center’s Final Thursday Reading series.

Thirty-six years ago, a family was murdered in Cedar Falls. Scott Cawelti, a longtime resident of Cedar Falls, previewed his book, "Brother's Blood: The True Story of the Mark Family Murders," on March 31 during a Final Thursday Reading. This event is held on the last Thursday of the month and is sponsored by the Hearst Center for the Arts.

In 1976, Jerry Mark was convicted of killing his brother and his brother's family. Thirty years and a number of appeals later, Mark still claims he is innocent. Cawelti, through years of research, interviews with Mark and unrestricted access to files, claims that there is no doubt he is the true murderer.

The Final Thursday book reading was filled with audience members who either knew the Marks or were related to the family. Everyone seemed to add their own spin on things.

For example, Vicki Simpson, an employee of the Hearst Center, stated, "I heard that they (the Mark brothers) were in a drug operation together. When he (Leslie Mark) wanted to get out of it, Jerry snapped and killed him."

Cawelti, on the other hand, was not easily fazed by anything the audience had to say.

"I have the evidence – it's on my side. I rely on the sources and thet facts and the fact is, Mark was a sociopath who could not stop lying," Cawelti said.

Cawelti stressed the point that Mark could not stop lying from the beginning. Mark lied about where he was that night, who he saw and what he was doing.

"His lawyers said that ‘we'll never know what Mark will say next,'" said Cawelti.

Mark has been appealing before judges for 30 years and in 2006 he appealed for release. However, three judges heard his appeal in 2008 and denied it. Cawelti is "certain that he is out of appeals … and out of money."

While previewing "Brother's Blood: The True Story of the Mark Family Murders," Cawelti started with a direct quote from the Bible about the Cain and Abel story. He compared the story of the murders with the Biblical fable and read just a little from the book to leave readers wanting more. The book is scheduled for release in August.

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