Man Who Tortured Family for 8 Hours Put to Death

David Neal Cox killed his estranged wife and sexually assaulted her daughter
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 18, 2021 12:10 AM CST
Mississippi Executes Man Who Terrorized Family
Lea Campbell, of the Mississippi Rising Coalition, reads a poem during a prayer vigil at the Mississippi State Penitentiary, Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021, in Parchman, Miss., moments before the scheduled execution of David Neal Cox.   (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

(Newser) – A man who pleaded guilty to killing his estranged wife and sexually assaulting her young daughter as her mother lay dying was put to death Wednesday evening, becoming the first inmate executed in Mississippi in nine years. David Neal Cox, 50, abandoned all appeals and filed court papers calling himself “worthy of death” before the state Supreme Court set his execution date. He appeared calm as he received a lethal injection. A coroner pronounced him dead at 6:12pm CST at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman, the AP reports. Cox pleaded guilty in 2012 to capital murder for the May 2010 shooting death of his estranged wife, Kim Kirk Cox. He also pleaded guilty to multiple other charges, including sexual assault. A jury handed down the death sentence.

Cox wore a red prison jumpsuit and was covered by a white sheet during the execution. 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." Cox thanked the state corrections commissioner, Burl Cain, for "being very kind to me. And that's all I got to say.” Cox appeared to take several deep breaths after the lethal chemicals started flowing through a clear plastic tube into his body, and his mouth moved some. He was pronounced dead within a few minutes.

Among those who witnessed the execution was Cox’s now 23-year-old stepdaughter. She was 12 when he sexually assaulted her three times in front of her wounded mother as he held them and one of her younger brothers hostage May 14 and 15, 2010, in the small town of Sherman. Kim Cox’s father, retired law enforcement officer Benny Kirk, said David Cox called during the night of the attack 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.

(Read more Mississippi stories.)

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