Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Carson soldier admits he killed woman, sheriff's office says

LANCE BENZEL Updated: October 13, 2008 at 12:00 am

A Fort Carson soldier admitted that he had violent sex with a 19-year-old woman before cutting her throat and leaving her to die in the wooded foothills west of Colorado Springs, according to an arrest affidavit released Tuesday.

Robert Hull Marko, 21, confessed to the slaying Monday before leading a detective nearly three miles up Old Stage Road and onto a chained-off dirt road to the area where authorities found the naked body of Judilianna "Judi" Lawrence, the affavit said.

Marko is being held without bond at the county jail on suspicion of murder and sexual assault with a deadly weapon. He appeared for video advisement Tuesday, and is due to return to court for an appearance Oct. 20.

The grisly admissions ended a four-day search for Lawrence, who her mother said suffered from ADHD severe enough that she was unable to drive and was taking classes preparing her to live independently.

She went missing Friday morning after arriving for a meeting with Marko the pair arranged on MySpace.com, the affidavit said. Her family knew nothing of the meeting, the mother said.

Marko, detained for questioning Friday evening, changed his story repeatedly until detectives confronted him with a bloody T shirt found in his barracks at Fort Carson, the affidavit said. Although he never acknowledged the rape, he admitted he had rough sex with her and applied a blindfold and gag before cutting her throat.

He told authorities she freed herself of the blindfold and gag and staggered away, and that he hid the articles in a ravine before fleeing, the affidavit said.

An autopsy Tuesday afternoon determined Lawrence died in a homicide, but the cause of her death will not be released until today, said Lt. Lari Sevene, a spokeswoman for the El Paso County Sheriff's Office.

Postings Marko appears to have left on various Web sites suggest he used the Internet to pursue dark impulses.

According to The Gazette's examination of the Web sites, Marko apparently sought sex slaves in the Colorado Springs area, detailed a violent dream inspired by a role-playing game similar to Dungeons and Dragons and boasted on a MySpace page filled with chilling language that he could "kill without mercy or reason."

Tuesday, Fort Carson sources said Marko received counseling for "an over-active imagination" after irregularities were found during a mental health screening upon the soldier's return in February from Iraq with the 4th Brigade Combat Team. Marko was deemed fit for duty after the counseling and wasn't undergoing further treatment, the sources said.

All 3,600 soldiers in the brigade were twice screened for mental health and medical issues since the brigade returned from war, and the brigade is re-screening at-risk soldiers at the end of the month.

According to his MySpace page, Marko - under the name Rex290 - was deeply involved in a fantasy life based on a role-playing game called Dinotopia RP. He declares himself a human-born member of the Black Raptors race:

"I'm becomeing (sic) a true Black Raptor already, I'm becomeing (sic) a cold hearted killer and can kill without mercy or reason," he wrote in his profile.

The profile page - last updated Oct. 9, a day before Lawrence's disappearance - features a one-word description of his mood: "creative."

In a profile on Vampirefreaks.com, Marko describes himself as a "semi goth soldier" and asks to meet women between the ages of 18 and 20 who won't try to change his beliefs.

The profile includes his name, photo and e-mail address.

The same e-mail address is listed in postings on another Web site in which someone using the name Rex290 asks for submissive sex partners near Colorado Springs, requesting "any kind of female that likes pain."

Investigators, including two computer crimes experts, are examining Marko's online activities and are seeking a search warrant for his MySpace account, Sevene said. Part of the focus will be on whether other women were victimized by Marko, she added.

Marko served in Iraq from January 2007 to February with a unit that has had some of the heaviest casualties of any Fort Carson unit in the Iraq war. He joined the Army in June 2006 and is a mortarman with Charlie Company, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team of the 4th Infantry Division.

He is the sixth 4th BCT soldier suspected or convicted of a local homicide since returning from Iraq. Two other soldiers from the brigade were tied to killings outside Colorado Springs - one in Fort Collins in 2005 and one in Los Angeles earlier this year.

The 4th Brigade Combat Team changed its name earlier this year from 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division.

Lawrence, described as friendly, gentle and devoted to her family, was reported missing from her home in unincorporated Stratmoor Valley, south of Colorado Springs, after she didn't show up for a bowling class.

Authorities were led to the suspect by the victim's mother, Aekyong Lawrence, who asked one of her other daughters to look for clues on Judi's MySpace.com page and discovered she had been exchanging e-mails with the Fort Carson soldier, the mother said.

"She was a sweetheart," Aekyon Lawrence said Tuesday. "Anybody who knows her would say that. Anyone who knows her would say that she cared for her sisters, for her mother. She cared for everybody."

-Gazette reporter Tom Roeder contributed to this story.

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Contact the writer: 636-0366 or lance.benzel@gazette.com

 

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