CEDAR FALLS, Iowa --- Several local people have been interviewed for a cable television program slated to air this week about a notorious Black Hawk County murder.
Retired University of Northern Iowa English professor and author Scott Cawelti, local prosecutors and others were interviewed for an Investigation Discovery network program on the Mark murders of the mid-1970s.
It airs at 8 p.m. Wednesday as part of Investigation Discovery's "Most Likely To..." series, about promising individuals whose lives end up embroiled in crime.
But the show will only be available to those who purchase digital packages from Mediacom and Cedar Falls Utilities. It will be on Channel 285 on DirectTV, Channel 105 for CFU customers with Digital Premier and Digital Signature packages, and Channel 206 for Mediacom customers with the Kids & Variety Digital Pak.
The program focuses on Jerry Mark of Cedar Falls. He was convicted of the October 1975 shooting deaths of his brother, Leslie, his brother's wife, Jorjean, and their two young children at their home north of Cedar Falls in a dispute over the family estate. Mark, now serving a life sentence at the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison, has maintained his innocence.
Cawelti, also a Courier columnist, was acquainted with Jerry Mark as a student at Cedar Falls High School , where they graduated a year apart in the early 1960s. Cawelti interviewed Mark in prison in 1980 and authored a book, "Brothers Blood," about the slayings. Cawelti said he was approached by program producers after they discovered his book online and learned about the story.
"I told them I wouldn't participate if they made it a 'whodunit,' It's a 'whydunit,' '" said Cawelti, who says a preponderance of evidence shows Mark did murder his brother and family. "This story was a tragedy and a loss for the community."
The program is designed to take a look at Mark and the factors which led to the murder. "It's sort of a modern Cain and Abel story," but it "evolves" into that, said Mark Marabella, producer of the series with Picture Schack Entertainment in New York.
Others interviewed for the program, part documentary and part redramatization of events, included prosecutors David Dutton and David Correll and attorney Wallace Parrish --- like Cawelti also a Mark acquaintance --- and retired Des Moines Register reporter Jack Hovelson of Cedar Falls, who wrote about the murders and trial.
The interviews were conducted in a studio set up in a Cedar Falls motel last October. Cawelti said the interviewer, Lori Siegel with Picture Shack Entertainment, knew the Mark story inside and out. "She was a good interviewer," Cawelti said. He also noted the actor selected to portray Jerry Mark bore a striking resemblance to him. Cawelti's hoping for an accurate and balanced recounting of the tragedy.
A promotional clip of the program, which airs several times this week, may be viewed online at http://investigation.discovery.com/tv-shows/most-likely-to/most-likely-to-videos/a-rough-transition.htm