High Court sets Nov. 17 execution date for man convicted of killing wife in front of children

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) – A man who wishes to speed up his execution has been granted his request by the Mississippi State Supreme Court.

The high court recently granted David Cox’s request to dismiss all appeals in his death sentence conviction and set his execution date for November 17, 2021.

The court denied Cox’s motion to dismiss his attorney, saying that Cox’s post-conviction counsel will remain in place in an advisory capacity.

The decision comes more than a decade after Cox killed his estranged wife in front of their 12-year-old daughter and seven-year-old son.

In 2012, Cox was convicted of first-degree murder in Union County and was sentenced to death. He also was sentenced to two counts of kidnapping a minor, for which he received two 30-year sentences, Mississippi Department of Corrections records show.

According to the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, Cox initially appealed the death sentence, but in 2018, began petitioning the state’s high court to waive his appeals and move forward with the execution.

“I am worthy of death & I do not wish to challenge the state of Mississippi any further,” he wrote in a November 2018 motion. “I seek the termination of all counsel & all appeals on the grounds of ineffective and (inefficient) counsel.”

Months earlier, in the August 2018 motion, he requested that his court-appointed counsel be dismissed, that all his appeals be terminated, and that his execution date be immediately set.

“I am Anabaptist, namely, old order Amish, & it is in conflict my religion to have lawyers…”

The clerk of the court provided the state and Cox’s counsel notice of the motions, and the state filed a motion to remand the case back to Union County Circuit Court to determine “whether Cox was willing and capable of waiving his appeals.”

On August 29, Cox’s attorney filed another motion to withdraw all of Cox’s motions and waivers, with Cox signing an affidavit in support.

Cox later claimed he was “emotionally and psychologically intimidated and pressured to sign the August 29 affidavit” and asked to have it withdrawn.

He told the court that he was “totally guilty” of killing his wife.

Justices ruled in December 2018 that a hearing should be conducted to determine whether Cox was competent and whether he “knowingly and voluntarily is waiving his rights to all present and future appeals.”

All other matters involving Cox’s case were stayed at the time.

Cox, meanwhile, continued to ask the court to allow him to represent himself, citing a phone call he had with his attorney in September 2019.

“I asked my current counsel, again still, to instruct me in legal process due me… to waive all my capital murder appeals, before ‘and’ after I’m found competent at my upcoming competency hearing to do so… my own counsel refused to help me… My counsel’s exact words to me were, ‘I cannot in good conscience do that,’ thus violating my constitutional rights.”

A hearing was held in February of this year. Cox “spoke of his religion… admitted his guilt and asked to terminate all ‘present and future counsel, lawyers, attorneys and appeals subject to my religious beliefs in God as an Anabaptist. I am willing for immediate execution.”

In April, a judge ruled that the then 50-year-old was competent enough to terminate litigation and waive all appeals.

Cox is currently being held at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman.

The last prisoner executed in Mississippi was Gary Carl Simmons, back in June 2012. He was executed by lethal injection, according to the MDOC website.

Copyright 2021 WLBT. All rights reserved.

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