Colorado ‘Psychic Kay’ killer files murder case appeal

‘Psychic ’ killer files appeal claiming attorneys failed to inform him of plea offer

Sady Swanson

Published 11:25 EST Jan 31, 2020
Marks Jr. (right) is serving 48 years to in after a jury found him guilty of murdering his wife of 20 years, Kathy Adams, 57, in 2010.
Fort Collins Coloradoan archive

The man sentenced to prison for the of the 57-year- Fort Collins woman known as “Psychic Kay” has filed an appeal claiming his attorneys failed to properly advise him of potential plea agreements.

John Marks Jr.,  57, was found guilty of second-degree murder and sexual in the 2010 of his wife, Kathy Adams, known as “Psychic Kay.” He was sentenced to 48 years to life in 2012 and is currently serving his sentence at the Correctional Facility in

Adams’ body was recovered from a ravine off . Highway 36 near the Boulder-Larimer County line in October 2010, according to Coloradoan archives. Marks was arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder about two weeks after her body was found. Initial documents indicated that Marks was abusive and Adams had planned to escape to and live with before she was killed.

Marks pleaded not guilty in his initial case and has maintained his innocence, according to his previous

records indicate documents were filed to reopen the case in 2015, and the petition was filed 2017. The appeal was filed under criminal procedure that allows for a request for post- if attorneys provided ineffective during a criminal case. If approved, the could order a or a modified sentence. 

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On Friday afternoon, Marks appeared in a Larimer County courtroom, where his argued to 20th Judicial  Salomone that Marks’ criminal defense attorneys failed to properly inform him of an offered plea agreement during his 2012 trial.

During Friday’s hearing, the defense attorneys and prosecutors from the 2012 trial denied the assertion that a midtrial plea offer — or that any plea offer — was made in the case. 

Defense attorney Derek Samuelson was appointed to be Marks’ attorney about a year into the case — in fall 2011 — after the defender’s office removed themselves due to a conflict of interest, Samuelson testified Friday. 

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After his appointment, Samuelson said he reached out to now Second District Attorney Humphrey, the on Marks’ case, to suggest a potential plea offer of manslaughter instead of second-degree murder. Humphrey refused the suggestion, Samuelson said.

Shortly after that exchange, Samuelson said he met Humphrey and now Larimer Cliff Riedel, Humphrey’s at the , at a shop in September 2011 to discuss the potential for a plea offer.

An sent after that meeting from Samuelson to another defense attorney assisting with the case — Lisabeth Castle — said the district attorney suggested they may be open to an offer involving Marks’ pleading guilty to second-degree murder in a of passion, which could have led to a lesser sentence.

The was not an offer, Samuelson said.

Per the district attorney’s office , according to testimony by Humphrey and Riedel on Friday, to minimize harm to the victims or in a or murder case, prosecutors might tell a defense attorney what they might consider a fair plea offer first. Then, if the defendant comes back with interest in taking a plea offer similar to what they discussed, that’s when the prosecution would bring the idea of a plea agreement to the victim or the victim’s family, not before that point. 

“There was absolutely no formal offer made to (Samuelson),” Humphrey testified Friday.

After having the initial discussion with Humphrey and Riedel, Samuelson said he went to the Larimer County Jail to speak with Marks. Because pleading guilty to second-degree murder in a heat of passion would still likely mean decades in prison, Samuelson said Marks declined to move further with it.

“What he told me was motivating him was innocence,” Samuelson said.

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Castle also testified that no midtrial offer was conveyed to her, and she was not aware of one being conveyed to Samuelson or directly to Marks. 

“And (if we did receive a midtrial offer) I think that’s something we would’ encouraged him to take,” Castle testified.

The appeal hearing was initially scheduled to finish Friday afternoon, but attorneys and the judge agreed that a second day of testimony is necessary. Because of scheduling conflicts, a date for the second day of the hearing has not yet been scheduled. 

Samuelson, who was not able to finish testifying Friday afternoon, resume his testimony at that hearing.

Sady Swanson covers , courts, public and more throughout Northern Colorado. You can send your to her at or on at @sadyswan. our and local with a at

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