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Mississippi executes first prisoner since 2012

Mississippi executes first prisoner since 2012
David Cox was executed Wednesday for the death of his estranged wife and the sexual abuse of his stepdaughter. Photo courtesy of Mississippi Department of Corrections/Website

Nov. 17 (UPI) -- The state of Mississippi executed its first death row inmate in nearly a decade on Wednesday -- David Neal Cox, convicted of murdering his wife in 2010.

David Cox, 50, pleaded guilty in 2012 to an eight-count indictment charging him with murdering his estranged wife, Kim Cox, and sexually abusing his minor stepdaughter identified in court documents as L.K.

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He received the lethal injection at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman and Mississippi Department of Corrections officials declared him dead at 6:12 p.m., according to the The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss., and the Daily Journal in Tupelo, Miss.

In a statement emailed to UPI on Tuesday night, press secretary Bailey Martin said Gov. Tate Reeves had "no intention" of granting clemency or delaying David Cox's execution.

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"The governor has reviewed the facts of this case and there is no question that David Cox committed these horrific crimes," Martin said. "Mr. Cox has admitted his guilt on multiple occasions and has been found competent by both the Circuit Court and Mississippi Supreme Court."

David Cox had filed no appeals nor sought clemency as he wrote to the courts in August of 2018 that he wished to be executed.

"I seek in earnest to wave all my appeals immediately, I seek to be executed as I do here this day stand on MS Death row a guilty man worthy of death," he wrote, according to court documents. "Please grant me this plea."

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Prosecutors said in court documents that David Cox and Kim Cox separated in 2009 after L.K. told her mother that he had raped her, which resulted in David Cox's arrest and conviction on multiple charges.

During his nine months in jail, David Cox told cellmates of his plans to kill Kim Cox for putting him behind bars, and on May 14, 2010, a month after he was released on bond, he bought a gun and shot his way into the home Kim Cox was staying at and took her, their two children and his stepdaughter hostage.

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Amid the ensuing standoff with police, David Cox shot his estranged wife in the arm and abdomen and sexually assaulted L.K. on three occasions in Kim's presence as she bled to death.

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David "Cox never released Kim for medical care, satisfying his depraved desire to see Kim suffer and die mercilessly," court documents state. "After negotiation attempts failed, a SWAT team entered the home at 3:23 a.m. Cox was taken into custody."

Death Penalty Action, which advocates for the abolishment of the death penalty, described the execution in a statement as "state-sponsored suicide."

"It's not about him. It's about us. In what other circumstance in Mississippi does a prisoner dictate his punishment?" the group asked, while urging readers to sign its petition against the execution.

According to state data, there are 38 inmates sentenced to death in Mississippi, one of whom is a woman.

In 2012, the state executed six people, with the last being Gary Carl Simmons on June 20 for capital murder.

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