Mississippi executions resuming; man killed estranged wife

State

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A man who killed his estranged wife and terrorized their family is scheduled to receive a lethal injection Wednesday evening in Mississippi and become the first person executed in that state since 2012.

Prosecutors said David Neal Cox shot Kim Kirk Cox and let her bleed to death over several hours while he sexually assaulted his stepdaughter three times in front of her dying mother.

Cox, 50, relinquished all appeals and filed court papers calling himself “worthy of death.” His execution is scheduled for 6 p.m. CST at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman.

Mississippi and other states have had difficulty finding lethal injection drugs because pharmaceutical companies began blocking the use of their products to carry out death sentences.

The Mississippi Department of Corrections revealed in court papers earlier this year that it had acquired three drugs for the lethal injection protocol: midazolam, which is a sedative; vecuronium bromide, which paralyzes the muscles; and potassium chloride, which stops the heart.

Mississippi Corrections Commissioner Burl Cain told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the drugs listed in the court records are the ones planned for use in the execution. He would not say where the department obtained them.

“The law said that we don’t have to disclose it,” Cain said.

A spiritual adviser will be available for Cox before the execution, the commissioner said.

Republican Gov. Tate Reeves has no intention of granting clemency or delaying the execution, his spokeswoman said Tuesday. Death Penalty Action, which opposes executions, had petitioned Reeves to step in.

“David Cox is waiving his appeals & inviting his execution. This amounts to state-sponsored suicide,” the group said in a petition. “It’s not about him. It’s about us. In what other circumstance in Mississippi does a prisoner dictate his punishment?”

The Mississippi Office of Capital Post-Conviction Counsel had represented Cox in recent years. After the state Supreme Court set his execution date, Cox sent a handwritten statement strongly objecting to those attorneys pursuing any more appeals on his behalf. The office director, Krissy C. Nobile, said Tuesday that after “considerable and difficult deliberation, and out of respect for David Cox’s autonomy and stated desire,” the office did not plan to file any more appeals for him.

Mississippi carried out six executions in 2012. The state does not have any others scheduled after Cox’s, though more than 30 people are on death row in the state.

Cox pleaded guilty in 2012 to capital murder in the shooting death two years earlier of his wife. He also pleaded guilty to multiple other charges, including sexual assault. A jury handed down the death sentence.

Among the people scheduled to witness the execution are Cox’s stepdaughter, 23-year-old Lindsey Kirk. She was 12 when he sexually assaulted her three times in front of her mortally wounded mother as he held them and one of her younger brothers hostage on May 14 and May 15, 2010, in a house in the small town of Sherman.

Kim Cox’s father, retired law enforcement officer Benny Kirk, described David Cox as “evil.” Benny Kirk said David Cox called during that night and said he had shot Kim. Benny Kirk spoke on the phone with his daughter and she told him: ”‘Daddy, I’m dying.’”

Police surrounded the house and tried to get David Cox to release his wife and the two children. Kim Cox was dead by the time the ordeal ended after more than eight hours.

The Associated Press does not usually identify victims of sexual assault, but Lindsey Kirk agreed to be interviewed and talk about what happened to her. She told the AP last week that David Cox had sexually assaulted her for several years when her mother was out of the house, and that he threatened to kill them if she told anyone.

While staying with her grandparents in the summer of 2009, Kirk texted her mother and told her of the assaults by her stepfather. Soon after that, David Cox was arrested and charged with statutory rape, sexual battery, child abuse and possession of methamphetamine. He was released in April 2010 without standing trial. Kim Cox obtained a restraining order against him and moved with her children to her sister’s home.

Questions remain about whether David Cox was responsible for the 2007 disappearance of his brother’s wife, Felicia Cox, who was last seen in a neighboring county. Her daughter, Amber Miskelly, recently told WTVA-TV that David Cox was the last person to see her mother alive. Felicia Cox’s body was never found, and no one has been charged in her disappearance.

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