lethal injection
Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Death Row Inmate Creative Commons

David Neal Cox, the man who pleaded guilty for murdering his wife and sexually assaulting his stepdaughter in May 2010 in Sherman, Mississippi, was executed by lethal injection Wednesday at 6:12 pm CST at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman.

Cox was declared guilty in 2012 to a capital murder for shooting his estranged wife, Kim Kirk Co, which led to her death in May 2010. He also admitted being guilty to multiple other charges, including kidnapping, sexual battery and burglary. A jury sentenced him to death in 2012.

The court documents reported that Cox had been in jail and was released on bond in April 2010. He spent nine months in the Pontotoc County Jail for allegedly raping his stepdaughter. While in prison, he promised to kill his wife once he was freed. Cox tracked down where his wife was staying. He broke into the home and held his wife together with his stepdaughter hostage.

Cox shot his wife twice, which led to her death due to wounds. He also sexually assaulted his stepdaughter three times while his wife bled from injuries.

According to court documents, Cox began mailing the Mississippi Supreme Court in August 2018 to waive his appeals and speed up execution. "I seek in earnest to waive all my appeals immediately. I seek to be executed as I do here this day stand on Mississippi death row a guilty man worthy of death. Please grant me this plea," Cox wrote to the Mississippi Supreme Court.

However, Cox's attorneys with the Office of Capital Post-Conviction Counsel filed a motion with his signature, stating to withdraw the previous letters to the court and continue the process of the appeals. In November 2018, Cox again filed a motion asking to waive his appeals, also for the first time, dismiss his attorneys, stating he was "of very sound mind and will."

In 2018, the court filed a motion for a competency hearing to assess Cox's mental state. The hearing was conducted in February 2021, wherein Cox was determined to be mentally competent and prove he could make decisions, including waiving his appeals.

From July to September, Cox continued to file motions to dismiss all appeals, prohibit the Office of Capital Post-Conviction Counsel from filing more appeals, and ignore all present and future attorneys.

Cox's death wish was approved on Oct. 28 and was scheduled on Nov. 17, a few days before his 51st birthday. An online petition made by the Death Penalty Action, to stop his execution of was not granted.

Cox was in a red prison jumpsuit, covered by a white sheet during the execution process. The wide leather straps held him down on a gurney.

"I want my children to know that I love them very much and that I was a good man at one time," Cox said just before the injection started. "Don't ever read anything but the King James Bible," he said. Cox was separated from his wife in 2009, and they had two children during the span of their relationship.

He also expressed his gratitude to Burl Cain, the state corrections commissioner, for being very kind to him. Cox took deep breaths after the lethal chemicals started flowing through a clear plastic tube into his body. He was pronounced dead within a few minutes. Cox's now 23-year-old stepdaughter, who was 12 back when he sexually assaulted her, was among the witnesses at the execution.

There are reportedly 37 people on the state's death row and Cox's execution was the first in the state since 2012.

Representational image. pixabay