SALT LAKE CITY — Erica Lukes worried her husband would kill her.
“There was so many emotions that I had to deal with going through all of that,” Lukes said, “and not knowing if I was going to wake up the next day and see my family.”
Lukes and her husband, Chris Marx, were a unique couple. They met when Lukes interviewed Marx for one of her podcasts about UFOs.
They married just a few months later — in January 2020. Lukes said problems emerged quickly into the marriage.
So, Lukes did what she did for the podcast — she recorded.
FOX 13s Nate Carlisle joins Max Roth below to discuss his story in-depth:
“That f___ing Sudanese ni____ and his f___ing white f___ing wigger tied our hands behind our backs,” Marx is heard on a recording Lukes made on Nov. 7, 2020, the same day the Associated Press called Joe Biden the winner of the U.S. presidential election. Marx was talking about his time as a soldier in Afghanistan.
“You need to get counseling,” Lukes replied.
“That f___ing needs to get f___ing executed,” Marx continued. “And his f___ing Biden f___ing bully — f___ing both of them f___ing ni_____.
“F___ing Biden. I f___ing hate his guts. If I ever see him, if I ever see him in person God forbid, God forbid, I am going to insult the president and beat the f___ out of him.”
Lukes made another recording on Nov. 13, 2020.
“I have no issues f___ing taking a gun and starting shooting,” Marx said, “start shooting left-wing mother f___ers at their rallies. No problem at all.”
Lukes also reported that Marx assaulted her at their Salt Lake City apartment in February of this year. He is charged with two misdemeanor counts of domestic assault and a count of violating a protective order. Marx has pleaded not guilty.
He did not respond to an interview request FOX 13 sent through his attorney.
Marx, 54, is a sergeant first class in the Utah National Guard. A spokesman for the guard said he is currently “flagged,” meaning he cannot receive promotion or commendations while until legal troubles are pending.
POLICE, POLITICS, MILITARY
Marx was a sheriff’s deputy in New Mexico. He also worked a private-sector job as a caretaker on Skinwalker Ranch, the expanse in eastern Utah that has been the subject of investigations into the paranormal.
Marx’s name was also found on the membership role of the Oath Keepers, according to a recent leak of the organization’s records that were obtained by The Salt Lake Tribune. The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the Oath Keepers as a right-wing, anti-government organization.
Lukes says she has turned over the recordings of Marx to the Utah National Guard, the FBI and the Secret Service. Federal prosecutors have not charged Marx with any crimes.
As for the domestic assault charges, Lukes said those reflect an episode where Marx came up behind her, pulled her by the hair, tearing out a chunk, and hit her on the head.
Weeks later, he was charged with violating the protective order. A Salt Lake City police report describes Marx repeatedly calling Lukes.
“I think he’s incredibly dangerous,” Lukes said of Marx.
Lt. Col. Byron Harvison is a military lawyer for the Utah National Guard. He wouldn’t talk specifically about the Marx case, but discussed the regulations at play.
The guard takes domestic violence seriously, Harvison said, and tracks episodes of soldiers being charged in a civilian court.
“The regulations provide that the civilian court has priority in the prosecution of those crimes,” Harvison said, “and then we handle things on the adverse administrative side of things.”
The protective order issued to Marx bars him from possessing firearms.
Harvison said in such cases, a soldier would not be allowed to handle guns and would be removed from jobs requiring a security clearance, but could otherwise continue with duties until the civilian and military proceedings are concluded.
The National Guard could decide whether to discipline or discharge the soldier later, too, Harvison explained.
And Harvison said threats against former or future presidents or activists “most certainly is” something the National Guard would take an interest in.
“We would refer the individual to the Federal Bureau of Investigation to be investigated,” Harvison said.
“Depending on the outcome of the investigation is when we would proceed with any military justice or adverse military action,” he added.
Leah Olszewski is a former officer in the Alabama National Guard who has testified before Congress about domestic violence in the military. She was not familiar with the Marx case, but discussed how the Department of Defense — or DOD — should handle such issues.
“He absolutely needs to be investigated properly by DOD,” Olszewski told FOX 13, “and [Lukes] needs to be provided special victims counsel and a lot of things need to happen here on the DOD side of the house.”
As for threatening statements about politicians and activists, Olszewski said that’s not something the military can tolerate either.
“You do not speak ill or criticize the commander in chief, the president of the United States,” she said.
Lukes and Marx are in the midst of a divorce. For now, Lukes is living in her fitness studio, Total Body Pilates, where she also produces her UFO podcast.
She still fears her husband.
“This is a serious issue,” Lukes said, “and I’m not the only wife of somebody that works in the military who has taken risks to come forward to talk about this.”
Military families in Utah experiencing domestic violence can contact Utah National Guard family services at 801-432-4522 or on the National Guard's website.
And anyone suffering from domestic violence in Utah can seek help from the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition by calling 800-897-5465 or visiting www.udvc.org.