Bay City man linked by DNA to woman’s sexual assault accepts plea deal

BAY CITY, MI — A Bay City man linked by DNA evidence to a sexual assault has accepted a plea deal.

Leon D. Marks Jr.’s trial before Bay County Circuit Judge Joseph K. Sheeran was slated to begin Nov. 29. However, Marks opted to forgo the process and pleaded no contest to one count of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct.

The charge is a high-court misdemeanor punishable by up to two years’ incarceration and a $500 fine.

In exchange for Marks’ plea, the prosecution agreed to dismiss a second count of that charge and a count of criminal sexual conduct-assault with intent to commit sexual penetration. The latter is a 10-year felony.

Marks’ conviction stems from an incident that occurred Aug. 8, 2021. A 25-year-old woman alleged Marks assaulted her while she was unconscious at his home in the city’s Banks District. Marks and the woman had known each other through a mutual acquaintance, police said.

On leaving Marks’ house, the woman went to another location where she called 911. She also went to an area hospital, where suspected DNA samples were taken from her, court records show.

The woman alleged Marks was her assailant from the investigation’s outset, police said.

Marks did not consent to being interviewed by police, they said. Still, investigators in December obtained a warrant to obtain a sample of Marks’ DNA. Lab results came back in February indicating a strong likelihood Marks DNA was present in two private areas of the woman’s body, court records show.

Marks, 40, is to appear for sentencing by Sheeran at 9 a.m. on Jan. 3.

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