By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
NEW ALBANY – Jurors and others watched a video of a 12-year-old girl telling a trained female interviewer about sexual abuse upon her by David Cox the night he shot his wife, Kim.
(The following testimony picks up about 3 p.m. with a local surgeon, who talks about the likelihood Kim Cox could have survived with speedy medical care and the Tupelo counselor who interviewed the girl.)
• • •
3:05 – Judge back. Defense asks to speak at bench with others.
Defense objects to coming witness who was in courtroom during med examiner’s report. Luther says witness will rely on autopsy report read before he got here. Judge says he can testify as an expert. Defense still objects. Judge says he thinks it will work. Jury brought in.
3:28 – STATE CALLS DR. H.F. MASON
(LUTHER TO QUESTION HIM)
MASON – Physician in New Albany, general surgeon. Two surgeons in Union County. Creekmore’s brother-in-law. (In courtroom during coroner?) Yes, I heard his testimony. (Made aware of photos in evidence?) Yes. (Viewed them?) I’ve reviewed them. (Asks about education background) UMMC medical school, residence at Vanderbilt. Practice general surgery since 1998. Board certified. (What type injury is a gunshot wound?) A penetrating injury. Stab wounds and gunshot wounds most common of those. (Occasion to treat penetrating wounds?) Yes. In training we did a lot. Since been back, seen several. (To abdomenal area?) Yes. Treated them. (GSW to abdomen require surgery?) Typically they do. Penetrating wound there is automatic to operating wound. Stab wounds maybe not. But GSW yes.
(Dealt with penetrating wounds, as surgeon?) Yes. STATE TENDERS HIM AS EXPERT AS GENERAL SURGEON, QUALIFIED FOR PENETRATING WOUNDS
Defense attorneys look puzzled. Confer. Trout … we stipulate him as expert in general surgery. Don’t know if that makes him expert in penetrating wounds. CONTINUE OBJECTION.
JUDGE – OK as expert in general surgery.
(Luther – Cox had gunshot wound. Can you stand and demonstrate where gunshot wounds were.) Sure, she had entry wound on outside of right upper arm. Exit wound below, another entrance wound in right breast with no exit wound. Also entrance wound in right upper part of abdominal wall, exit from left lower abdomen. (Hear testimony about time she survived?) Heard he was called about 3:15. When he saw her, he deduced she might be dead 2-3 hours. (Say victim survives 5-7 hours. Wound tranverses the abdomen, what is likely to encounter?) GSW of that nature is that it is going to injure some intestines, small or colon, liver kidney. It could injure major vessels, kidney.
(If major organs were struck, would you anticipate survival for 5 hours?) If intestine or colon injured, yes. If a major blood vessel, less likely. I’d say it would be less likely to survive longer than that. (What most likely would be nature of injuries?) Assume survived for 5 hours, think she would not have had injury to major blood vessel. Still significant potential for injury to intestine or colon, not massive hemorhaging. She … anybody with that injury must have an operation to determine extent. (Injury like that, what would you expect for pain?) Just the impact of bullet will cause pain. Bleeding into abdomen and potential for spillage of intestinal contents are irritants to abdominal cavity are irritants … called peritonitis, very painful. Longer survives, more painful it becomes as more contents spill out.
(Injury to the arm and break, less painful?) Hard to say. Depends on what’s injured. Bone would be more painful but still painful anyway. (Do we have an ambulance, what is its purpose?) For rapid transport to nearest facility to be cared for. Has siren. (Time to treat, more helpful than others?) We obviously want to get people to hospital as quickly as possible. Talk about the golden hour to increase chances of survival. (Did she have chance of survival if got to hospital?) OBJECTION – NEED MORE THAN BELIEF.
(Luther – I’ll rephrase. Based on your experience, education, dealing with penetrating injuries and court observations, do you have opinion as to survivability of Mrs. Cox if she’d gotten to hospital in reasonable time?) Based on testimony that she was alive for 5 hours, my opinion that the extent of her injuries … if she got to emergency department with appropriate care … my opinion, her chances to survive were high.
TROUT – 3:47 – (Of course, you can’t know exactly what her wounds were?) That’s right. (And what you would have done …but under circumstances you have to speculate about what structures were injured by nature of wounds?) That’s right. (We all know rounds don’t always take a straight path?) That’s correct. (Increases the degree of speculation?) It would.
LUTHER – (Regardless of what was injured, her chance for longterm survival – up or down on getting to hospital?) Goes up sooner she gets to hospital.
3:51 – STATE CALLS ELLEN STEEL, Family Resource Center, Tupelo
STEEL – She does forensic interviews. Interviews children about sexual abuse. When there’s allegation of harm to a child or vulnerable adult. She’s trained to do this. (Luther – when interfviewing a child, how do you question them?) Non-leading questions. Start with open-ended questions. (Do you record them?) We do. Want record of child at that age, also interviewers memory isn’t always good. (With a young child, would police investigator talk to them?) No, we are trained to do that. Law enforcement may not know kind of questions to use. Traumatic for child to be interviewed over and over by different people. Team is on other side of one-way glass, can communicate to interviewer during break about issues.
(Luther – Do you know “the girl?”) Yes, interviewed her. Recorded. Reviewed it. (Luther shows DVD to defense team. He hands it to Steel.) She identifies as her interview with “the girl.” Truly represents the interview, May 25, 2010. In Tupelo, Family Resource Center. Not original of interview. (State moves to introduce the DVD into evidence.) RUSHING WANTS TO TALK TO JUDGE. ALL GATHER AT BENCH. Woman in jury, whose face was a grimace about Cox’s admissions Wednesday has scrunched up her face again in anticipation of this video.
DA asks older woman in audience on front row outside to confer. They return, she looks unhappy. Attorneys speak with judge at bench. Defense attorneys do not look pleased.
(Luther – to judge – Marked for evidence.) JUDGE – This CD … talks to jury … can’t understand but jury is going to see video.
VIDEO – Steel talks to young girl. After a while, the girl says her step-dad shot her mother. What happened after he shot our mom, Steel asks, Girl starts to weep, puts her hands over her face. Says he made her take her clothes off … has a difficult time telling the rest of the story. (Cox pleaded guilty to 3 counts of sexual assault on the girl.) (Cox is sitting at defense table with his head down looking at table top, with a pen in his hand.) (Recording is difficult to hear but we know the story.) Girl say he touched her here and there. Video over at 4:46 p.m.
(Luther – Is that accurate of your interview?) Yes. (State of mind?) Very emotional. (She was how old?) 12 years old DONE 4:47
DEFENSE, NO QUESTIONS – SHE’S EXCUSED
• • •
2:40 P.M. POST
NEW ALBANY – Testimony continued Thursday afternoon as prosecutors seek the death penalty for David Neal Cox Sr., who admitted killing his wife, Kim, in May 2010.
Cox, 41, pleaded guilty to capital murder, in addition to charges of kidnapping, firing into an occupied dwelling and three counts of sexual battery.
The 15 members of the jury, including three alternates, must decide if he deserves life in prison or death. Judge John Gregory estimates the trial may run into Saturday.
(Below is a running account of what’s happened since the noon break. Please excuse typos and glitches likely to occur. I post the latest segments first, which sort of puts the report in a backwards order. So, if that bothers you, start at the bottom and work your way up. Read Friday’s Daily Journal for a more concise account of what’s happened.)
• • •
1:35 P.M. – Judge, jury back.
STATE CALLS (a really elderly, poor-hearing man) . Judge cautions him not to speak about anything drug-related or about sexual assault charges.
RAYMOND SMITH – Lives in Pontotoc. Married. Were a neighbor of David Cox for several years. Know him. (Luther questions – May 2010 night when Cox was involved in situation with his wife. Did you know Kim?) Not until somebody introduced me to her, maybe 10 years ago. Neighbors with them for that time. Same driveway. (Learn about situation about Cox holding Kim, kids?) Heard about it. Brother-in-law of David’s, Mike. (Talk to David that night?) Talked to him on the cell phone. Time, toward evening, maybe 4 o”clock can’t remember. I called Mike to find out where David was … was to help me with air conditioner in window. He was staying at Mike’s. Told me about the situation.
(When called David, know where he was?) No, wondered. (Before or after situation started in Sherman?) Yes, of course I did, after Mike told me. Tried to talk to him. Talked with him a little bit. Wasn’t making a whole lot of sense. Talked like he was out of his mind. Angry, confused, mixed up combined. (Talked to KIM?) Heard her say, David, I’m bleeding. (Did he say if he thought Kim was leaving alive?) I didn’t even know he was going over there until Mike told me. He said, nobody … no, said before morning I’ll be dead.
(A little farther back, when David was in Pontotoc Jail. Was … ever seen him with a gun before?) He came to my house. He had a 22 pistol. I asked what doing with it. He said he was thinking about shooting somebody. He mentioned Kim. I said don’t need it, he gave it to me, I unloaded it. Belonged to some lady at Hilltop. (How knew David?) Met him at church in Thaxton. He was real nice man. Full of the Holy Spirit. Took him a bunch of greens. Told him we’d pick a bunch. (While he was in jail, did you visit him?) I did. Talked about the Lord, salvation, forgiveness, repenting. He said he’d done that. Would talk about Scriptures. Wrote me letters. A good many. He reads and writes. He prints. (Print legible?) Yes. (Ever know him to act strange or anything, have memory losses?) In past couple of years, his personality started changing a great deal. He still had a lot of love for us. Would help me, was kind to us. But I noticed his personality changing.
(Ever question his ability to communicate or about his memory?) One time, I told him, David, you seem like your old self……. (MAN IS CRYING) I told him he acted like person I first met. He told me he was wondering about that. He was glad to hear that. (After in jail?) Yes, seemed his old self again.
T.R. TROUT TO QUESTION SMITH 1:54 p.m.
(Trout – said met Cox aout 10 years ago?) Yes, he was living in Thaxton. Somewhere on top of a hill but don’t know the name of the road. (How came to be neighbors?) Met him in church and took a liking to him. Rare to meet somebody who doesn’t smoke or cuss and is kind to his elders. He was against drugs, alcohol, all those things. (How did you come to live next door.) DAvid called us all the time, asked about us, how doing, about our health, could he do anything. When he and Kim got married, she wanted another trailer and I asked if I could buy his. Said he could look after us. A real kind person. (So, when you moved next door to him in old trailer?) Yes. (Arrangement?) He let us pay it out, half of what I owed. One day I went to pay and he said, that’s plenty, you don’t owe me any more. (Children?) Yes, loved them like my own grandkids. I knew them from birth.
(There when boys were born?) Yes, before that. (Relationship with kids?) They were inseparable. They helped do things with David, together all the time. They were good boys. Come to stay a while every now and then. Buy them ice cream, cookies. Watch cartoons, things like that. WE loved them to death. (Felt David was kind-hearted?) He was a mechanic, could fix any kind of motor. People would bring things. He’d fix them and wouldn’t charge them nothing. I had a stroke, mostly on right side. In Memphis hospital. He came and got me and brought me home.
David’s life is worth saving, of course. (What you saw in David that prepared you for what happened in 2010?) No, I never would have dreamed it in a hundred years. Because of his good heart. DONE 2:04
(LUTHER – That air conditioner, did you have it at the house?) Yes, on the ground and I couldn’t pick it up. I bought it myself and brought it home. DONE 2:04
STATE CALLS WILLIAM SANFORD (enters courtroom in bright orange jail clothing.)
SANFORD – From Texas correctional institution, 57 years old. Met Cox in July 2009. Incarcerated in Pontotoc County for six months, cell mate of David Cox. Before that, was a minister at Cairo Baptist Church (Luther- pleaded guilty to sexual misconduct with female church member.) Yes, signed a confession. (Cellmate to Cox in 2009, during this time, did you talk about his wife, Kim?) Constantly. Every day. He felt like she was going to set him up. (What was his attitude toward her.) Constant hatred, bitterness. (How did you know that, what did he say?) How he would go into rages as he talked about it.Paced the floor. Just kind of “go off.” Wished she was dead. she didn’t deserve to live. That kind of thing. Sometimes almost every day, sometimes weekly. Can’t say every day, but it was extremely often.
(Luther – statement to investigator) My lawyer said they asked to talk to me. Didn’t mention it before that. (Sentence?) 12 years, also feds for possession of child pornography, 10 years to go. I confessed. (Anybody promise you anything?) No. (See out anybody to tell story to?) I did not. (What did Cox say about wife?) Wanted her to die… don’t remember exactly how …just that he wanted to harm her. 2:12 p.m.
(Trout – You said investigator contacted your lawyer.) Yes. In Lafayette County at that time .. also houses federal prisoners. (Did lawyer or other prisoners tell that in federal system that you can get a reduction for providing information?) No.
STATE ALLS MARK OWEN
OWEN – Lives in Ingomar. Coroner in 2010. Worked for New Albany as patrolman back then. Worked with Bennie Kirk, he was an investigator, then leftl retired in 2010. Know Kim Cox, his daughter. Aware of incident. (Creekmore – tell jury about that.) Yes, we took golf team to Natchez and on our way back. First thing back, call the sheriff. Advised me of situation in Sherman. I knew it was by me. Didn’t know who was involved. Bennie was on the scene and filled me. Made my way back home.
(Creekmore – asks responsibilities as coroner) Handles deaths in the county – any deaths when soembody isn’t in hospital over 24 hours. Fill out death reports,certificates. (What is ME1?) My coroner’s report. (Go to scene, examine body, gather information from medical personnel etc?) Yes, once fill it out, keep copy and send to MS Crime Lab. (Does body get to pathologist for autopsy?) We have our own vehicle. I transport it to Jackson myself or one of my staff.
(May 14, 2010 – were you called out to scene as coroner?) Yes. About 3:15 a.m. Told SWAT team going into residence. You may want to make your way here. I headed that way. (Got there?) Stood by. SWAT cleared scene, I went in and viewed the body. (What did you have to do officially?) Yes, with regard to Kim Cox. (Creekmore gets photos taken from scene … hands one to him.) That is the ME1, death report. My handwriting, Kim E. Cox, dated May 14, 2010. (Intros into evidence) (You reported some specifics? What?) Just race, sex, description, rigor, blood present etc. (When examined Kim’s body … remember it?) I do. Body temp was “warm.” Trained to check body, feel for temperature. (Rigor?) Means that body has started … stiffening. It had started to stiffen a little bit. (Blood pooling?) On left side, put purple. She had laid in position long enough that blood moved to lower part of her body. (Those three observations, any conclusions?) Based on what seen at time examined her, I’d say 2-3 hours for time of death. (Any more pooling if she’d stayed there?) Yes, quite a bit. (Pooling had begun?) Yes it had.
(When you examined her?) Injuries – gunshot wounds. In photos, accurately depict what observed that night. (Photos to evidence? BENCH CONFERENCE) Identifies entry wound and exit wound on arm. Also, re-entry – looks like bullet entered her breast. Another photo – entry wound to abdomen, exit wound from her abdomen. (Other injuries?) No. (Looking back at photo … would that be shows re-entry?) Yes. Any time a bullet enters that area, several different vital areas… lungs, heart.. depends on how far bullet went into. DONE 2:37
DEFENSE NO QUESTIONS – 10 MINUTE BREAK
• • •
NOON POST – LUNCH BREAK UNTIL 1:35
NEW ALBANY – David Cox’s capital murder sentencing trial breaks for lunch after hearing his longtime friend, Michael Houston, say he can’t understand what happened the night Cox killed his estranged wife.
Earlier testimony came from a man who was jailed with Cox and claimed he “acted proud” that he’d killed his wife, and from Kim Cox’s father, who said he spoke with her and said told him, “Daddy, I’m dying.”
(Below is a running account from court. It’s broken into most recent testimony, then backwards through the morning.)
• • •
11:22 – Judge says bring jury back in.
(Luther to question Houston)
HOUSTON – Lives in Thaxton. Wife is Charlotte, four kids. Related to David, brother-in-law. Charlotte is his sister. Says David was his best friend. Met his wife through David. Works driving truck in furniture industry. 18 years as truck driver. David was on disability for a long time. Not sure when started driving trucks. His back, had bad back long time. Not sure when started disability. Don’t know if ever came off it. Drove trucks together in past.
(2010 – driving trucks?) Yes. (Where David living?) At my house in Thaxton. (Before that?) Pontotoc County. (His wife?) Kim, two kids together. (Before May 14, 2010 … had he talked about a truck run?) Yes. (Day Kim ws killed, did you see him?) I had been to New orleans, we met up in Winona. (Where been?) To pick up load in Kosciusko. Met a truck stop. David was there first, waiting on me. Doesn’t remember when left. Got home before dark. Came up I-55, came across at Oxford. Took truck to shop, got personal vehicle and went to house.
(Got to Thaxton, what David did?) Turned down road I live on. Talked at truck stop. He was “David.” Normal. Understood him. Can’t remember what talked about. Talked on cell phone. (You on 76 to Pontotoc, he turned off?) Yes. (Next contact with David?) Talked to him on 76 when borrowed van. I didn’t see no harm in it, to get an air conditioner. (Got home, he and van were gone?) Yes. (Next time talked to him?) After I got home, can’t remember time, called and told me what happened.
(On phone before?) Not since borrowed van. (Toldyou where he was at?) Said he ran to Sherman to take care of some business. (Call?) Asked why in Sherman. (What happened?) … heard from him in 30 minutes. He called me. Said … He said I shot the bitch. Shocked me. Couldn’t believe it. At home with my wife. (Said to him?) Waht are you talking about. He told me, I shot her twice, talking about … anybody else in house? Christy, thought he shot her too, wasn’t sure.
(Tell you anything about Kim’s condition?) No,just said shot her in stomach and arm. (Ask him about help?) He wouldn’t listen. He said no … get Little David out, his biggest thing. (What he said to happen to Kim?) Wanted her to die a slow, painful death. (Anybody else in house?) Girl and David. (Say about girl?) Only wanted Little David out … telling girl to shut up. She was crying. (Threaten any harm to girl?) Said if didn’t shut up, he would shoot her. Bullet for her. (Was Kim alive?) Yes could hear her in the background. David, I’m dying. (Did she ask him?) To let kids go, get some help. (What else did she say about herslef?) She said she’s dying, he said I know you are. (His tone?) He was calm. Only timehe was calm.
(Talk to anybody else?) Little David. he was scared, panicked – Daddy hurt Mama. (Next?) He hung up, don’t know who hung up. (More that night?) David called me. He asked me to bring phone charger. Was in the truck. Carried it to the scene. He wanted to get Little David out. He wanted tea, water and some food. Didn’t carry into house. I wouldn’t carry anything up there. Scared. (Say whether … if anybody else could bring?) Said he’d come out shooting. (Talking about police and shooting, did he say anything about Kim?) Said only person he hated worse than Kim ws the police.
(Hear any talk with Kim or Little David?) He told them to shut up, be quiet. He would shoot her if she didn’t. JUDGE – DON’T BE REPETITIVE. (How many times told girl he would shoot her, if not quiet?) Twice, I recall. (Were you trying to get Kim and get kids out?) David wouldn’t help. He texted to get Little David. I wouldn’t. (Stay there, what?) I was there until the end. (Did he stop texting?) I think his phone died. (Did you call anybody else that night?) Yes, Mr. Bennie, David said to tell him what happened. Understood him. 11:45
CROSS BY RUSHING
(Rushing – That night, David was talking to you to come get Little David?) Yes. (At some point, you told him you were going home?) Yes, I did. Negotiator told me to get focus off me and back on them. Also told him I was home in bed. But I still was there. (Known David how long?) Since I was 18-19. Relationship … met him, fishing buddies. Met every weekend and fish. (From there, stronger friendship?) Yes. Married his sister and felt like we were brothers. Married 23 years. (Type person?) He was like a friend, he was there when I needed something Ordinary person. We had squabbles but what family don’t. (How was David’s behavior around your family?) Couldn’t have a better person around. Treated them with respect. Helped my kids. Good relationship. No problems trusting my kids around him, never.
(Night this happened, you got calls from David, were you surprised?) It was very strange. (In character?) No, never seen that. (Yelling, screaming – other testimony?) Yes sir. (Ever seen before?) I’ve seen him angry but not like that, no sir. (Memory of David?) Hunting and fishing, always think of.
(Did you ever know David to use drugs?) Never. (Time with you, family – did he ever seem under influence?) No sir. (Ever have time with him that he was anxious, hyper before this happened?) I can’t remember. (Before this, he was living with you?) Yes. (Some testimony about protective orders. During time, how was he?) He was hyper, very hyper. (Hyper … was kind of hyper was he? Down, chatty how?) Up, doing things in house. In night would get up and wash dishes. Staying awake. (Middle of night, not sleeping?) Not much. (During … when he was on disability, how long?) Couple of years, not certain. (Was he taking medication?) Yes, on pain pills. Couple of years. (Even then?) Still David.
(I know you’re torn, testifying about what happened by a friend. Because of that … uh … outside of this, consider him a good person?) Yes. (Understand why we’re here… jury decision?) Yes. (Decision about his life?) Yes. (Understanding what happened, know about him in this case, do you think his life is worth saving?) Yes sir. (At this point that night, completely out of character with man you know?) That wasn’t David.
(ATTORNEYS MEET AT BENCH) 11:57
(Luther with rebuttal questions)
(Asked if you trusted David Cox prior to that night?)Yes sir. (Did you trust him that night? That he wouldn’t hurt you to go into house?) I trusted him but I’ve got better knowledge than to go into a house with a person with a gun. Didn’t understand why it took so long to go in. (You said, time known Cox as ordinary person, no squabbles, never saw him with communication problems?) No. (Ever know him to lose his memory?) No, but he’d call and ask me where to go. I’d get on GPS and tell him. (Ever know him to have a memory loss or use drugs?) No.
(When Rushing asked about seeing him hyper, first time you said no. But asked it again, you said yes … was extra hyper last couple of weeks? Why first no and then yes.) Thought he was talking about the past. That night, he was up, yes. Stayed at my house bout three weeks. Noticed he was hyper, wasn’t sleeping well. (Night this happened, he was normal David?) As I saw him. (Ever get off drugs for disability?) Don’t know. (Was for back problem,not mind?) For his back, can’t say about his mind.
(Said David knew about church. Does it make you live a godly life? OBJECTION – OVERRULED (Knowing and living?) No.
12:05 – HOUSTON EXCUSED. LUNCH BREAK – BACK AT 1:35.
• • •
10:25 (LUTHER to ask additional questions of Schavers.)
(Luther – Who murdered Kim Cox?) That would be David Cox. (Who kidnapped Kim Cox?) Mr. Cox. OBJECTION – SUSTAINED. (DID THE TUPELO SWAT TEAM MURDER KIM COX?) OBJECTION – OVERRULED (Did Tupelo Swat Team mruder Kim Cox? Or Sheriff Tommy Wilhite murder Kim Cox?) No. (You talked to David Cox tht night, Kim Cox?) Yes. (Decision was made not to take Little David out?) Yes. (Based on conversation with David, and with Kim Cox, if you had taken Little David out, would young girl in house be dead?) OBJECTION – CALLS FOR SPECULATION – SUSTAINED.
(Based on your conversaton with David Sr. and Kim, what did you decide about Little David?) All of Mr. Cox’s anger and threats were targeted at Kim and girl. Weren’t in any way to his son. Reason that we decided to leave him there. Because he didn’t want his child to see what would happen. OBJECTIO – MOVE TO STRIKE – OVERRULED. (Decision was made not to take Little David out. Removed?) Yes, Female and child removed from house. (Based on your experience, if you’d taken Little David out?) OBJECTION – SUSTAINED – STRIKE.
(You said on cross that David Cox wanted out. Did anyone prevent him from coming out?) No. We didn’t lock door from outside. (Who controlled whether he came out?) He did. (Who controlled situation there that night?) He did. (Anything about situation?) Nothing normal about this situation. (Based on phone conversations with David Cox … after first, how ended?) He cursed and said would kill me if called again. He hung up. (Did you take him seriously?) Yes I did. (Who is Melanie Kirk?) Kim’s stepmother. (How know her?) OBJECTION – NOT ON MY CROSS-EXAMINATION (Judge asks them to approach.) SUSTAINED.
(Luther – were you the only person making phone calls to Cox?) OBJECTION – I’LL LET HIM HAVE THE, JUDGE SAYS. I don’t know who else called David Cox. (Was anyone at command center doing that?) No sir. (Were any phone talks with Cox recorded?) Later in night, … OBJECTION – OVERRULED. (Ws recorded conversation?) Yes, with Melanie when she was talking. (You weren’t only one talking to him?) No sir.
(Were you keeping time or score of calls?) No. (Report about calls?) Yes. (Look at bottom … read that? Refresh your memory?) No sir. (If rest of night, Cox would not let you talk to Kim any more…hone calls listed… is that all you made or not?) Only ones that I recall making. (Not only talked to him?) NO, Melanie talked to him. (When you talked to Mr. Cox, talked about being groggy … prior to that, were you able to understand him?) Oh, yeh. (Understand demands?) Yes. (Problems with any communication skills?) He knew who I was. When talked to him, could tell … I’ve worked with people who get tired of talking… physically tired. (Before that, at first, didyou have any problems communication with him?) No problem understanding his words, what he wanted. No problems.
(When called second time .. able to relate about first time?) No, other than being irate, angry. DONE 10:38
STATE CALLS BENNY KIRK
KIRK – Bus driver, former law enforcement. Lives in Myrtle. One daughter, son, another daughter. Kim Cox was my daughter. (Died May 14, 2010?) Yes. (Where were you that night?) In Pearl, daughter Ashley, wife and I were at track meet. (When or how learned about problem?) About 7 p.m., Christy Salmon (daughter) called. Said Kim had been shot. Said David Cox shot her. Kim was living with Christy in Sherman. (Before that?) Ecru. Living with Christy 4-5 weeks. (Why moved to Christy’s?) When David got out of jail, she was scared of him and they moved to her house. Kim got two different orders to keep him away from her.
(Waht do when got call about Kim?) We got in car and left and come to New Albany. (Other calls?) Call from Mike Houston, DAvid’s brother-in-law. He said he had call, phone number, it was David and he wanted to talk to me. I called him. He answered. (Then?) He was screaming, cussing, carrying on. After couple of minutes, he calmed down and I talked to him. He said that he’d shot Kim and, uh, was on a Friday. Stated that he meant to do it Saturday, but that he was going to my barn to kill me and then to kill Ashley and my wife, and go to Sherman and finish up and kill the rest of them.
(Tell you about KIM?) I talked to Kim. She said Daddy, I’m dying. Last time I talked to her. (Cox?) Said he’d shot her and she was bleeding like a stuck pig. Last time talked to her. (When she told you she was dying, last time spoke to her?) Yes sir. (After that, other talks with David?) I did not. (What did you do then?) On way back to Union County. Went to the house in Sherman. Talked to police there. (Know if any more conversations … did your wife talk to David?) She did. (Did she talk more to him?) Yes, when we got back to the house, he wouldn’t talk to anybody but her. She talked to him .. don’t know how long. (To negotiator?) No. (With Melanie?) Yes.
(Was she in presence of negotiator?) Yes. (How many calls?) Don’t know. (David?) Wouldn’t talk to negotiator. (Past shouting, could you understand what he was saying?) Yes sir. (Understand you?) Yes. (Known him?) Since they were married … about nine years. (Occupation?) Truck driver. (Go off, road trips?) Yes. (Know anything about his getting lost?) No. (Ever know he had episodes of memory loss?) No. (Ever know he sought mental health help or brain injuries?) No.
(Live at your house?) Wife, daughter, 3 grandkids… Kim’s children. 10:50
CROSS EXAMINATION BY TROUT (No questions.)
STATE CALLS BOBBY HALL (Creekmore to question.) Attys meet at bench.
HALL – Lives in Blue Mountain, ab year. Before, New Albany. Works for Coombs Realty, with rental property. Business in Tippah County. Fixes houses after renters leave, if needed. Supervisor is David Harold. Three-man crew. Work 5 days week.
(Do you know defendant?) Incarcerated with him. Sitting at table there. Knows Kim’s brother. Kim was acquaintance. (April 2010, work for Kim?) Yes. Call … she was in fear uh… CREEKMORE — HOLD UP … BENCH MEETING.
(So, in April 2010 Kelly asked you to help move Kim from Ecru?) Not Kelly. Brandon asked. To move her to Christy Salmon’s house, her sister. I did. Dont’ know exactly when. Couple of weeks before she got killed. (Pending criminal charges in Union County?) I did not. About two weeks after she was shot, I got in trouble. Pleaded guilty in Union County … approximately … picked up May 28 – 5-6 months after that I pleaded. During 5-6 months was in Union County Jail. (After plea, sentenced?) 20 years, 10 suspended, 10 to serve. Actually in 17 months, 9 days. (Is that all in jail?) First six months.
(Before May 28 … drug charge… have any other criminal history?) 1992-93 had marijuana charge. Maybe DUI. (In jail, met Cox?) Yes. We were in kind of like a 10×10, me, him and another guy for about all time I was in that jail. Didn’t know him prior to that time. (Aware of what had happened to Kim. Asked him about it?) I did. (Explain) In tehre a while, talked to him read Bible every day. Got to talking and I asked him if he was the one that took Kim’s life. (What did he say?) He said he did, if Kelly and Brandon were there, they wouldhave got it too. Described it in detail.
(Going to Sherman?) Said he went there … left store and uh when got to Chrsity’s hosue, saw his child or the house. Turned around … (children?) Don’t recall. (Turns around?) Yes, said he walked on porch, fired gun through lock. reached hand in through window and opened door. (Then say?) Said he went in and saw Christy running, fired one time at her. He went in and fired at Kim, shot her in the arm. Then shot her in the gut. They would up … she was laying there and he called her father.
(weapon?) Said he used 40-caliber. (Did what?) Emptied clip. After that, said had chidlren in his lap. (About other clips?) Yes, two more in truck … not sure which truck. (Drove to house that day?) Can’t remember exactly. Say clips in 18-wheeler. (After his telling you that, did he say anything else?) He said he did what he did because they had told on him. If had to do again, he would do it again. (Have any trouble telling you about it?) No, acted like he was proud of it.
(How did … did you tell anybody about that? What Cox told you.. didyou tell law enforcement?) Yes, I did. Told investigator with MHP, I was in Rankin County, October. 11:06
RUSHING TO CROSS EXAMINE
(Rushing – Said you had other charges? What were?) Only ever had was a DUI and in 1993 had marijuana sale charge,then this latest charge. (Jail on pot charge?) About a year. (Picked up on this charge, in jail how long?) Union County, about 6 months. (Then ..) About 17 months then in Rankin. (Isn’t it true that when charged and waiting for plea, they tend to want to volunteer information to law enforcement?) I didn’t volunteer anything, already had sentence. (So at some point, somebody …you had to have told somebody?) I didn’t tell anybody.
(You and David were on suicide watch together?) Yes, I shot myself previously. (In Union County?) Small jail. (Easy for information to get from one part to another?) Could be. (If want to know wht Cox was charge with, wouldn’t be hard without his talking to you?) Probably not. (others too?) If wanted to know, probably could find out. (You said, at some point you had helped Kim move?) Yes. (So on some level, were acquainted with family?) Yes. (Your being hosued with David, no stretch to help family?) Hs nothing to do with what happened. (Told courthe confessed ot you?O HE DID CONFESS. (Others in there with you?) For a short time, another guy from Pontotoc County. Don’t know his name. (So, for some reason, a friend of family, David picked you to tell this to.) Only person to talk to. (Somebody who knew family, he talked to you?) He didn’t know I knew famly. I told you exactly what he told me.
(Problems with mental issues …?) Yes, I went to Region 3. I shot myself before. DONE. 11:12
CREEKMORE TO QUESTION
(Do you know if investigators talked to anybody in contact with Cox?) No. (Did they come to you?) They did. (Did you tell truth?) I did. (Who told you two extra clips in truck?) David Cox. (Who told you that Cox shot through front door?) David Cox. (Anybody else in 10×0 cell that could have given you that info, except him?) Correct. (When investigators asked you if had any contact with him?) I told them I did, locked up with him. Asked if he said what happened. I told them what he told me. What told jury today.
(When gave info to law enforement, had already been setnenced?) Yes. (Already serving it?) Yes. (Is it normal for someone to have a sentence and then be employed …. normal after 17… OBJECTION – SUSTAINED.
(In getting out, did anybody make any special arrangements for you?O No, tornado came through. If incarcerated and work disaster, you get good time and that’s how you get out. (Providence?) Tornado came through Smithville, MDOC gives you good time. That’s how I got my sentence down. Worked about 60 days.
CREEKMORE, THAT’S ALL 11:16.
STATE CALLS MICHAEL HOUSTON. (Bench conversation) 10 minute break.
Luther says court has ordered not to discuss situation about sexual assault on young woman by David Cox. Says Houston must not talk about that on stand. At this point, he cannot talk about drug use.
11:22 – Judge says bring jury back in.
• • •
10:03 A.M. (FIRST POST TODAY)
NEW ALBANY – A Tupelo hostage negotiator said this morning that David Neal Cox Sr. wanted to leave the trailer where he held his shot wife and three others, but the Union County sheriff at the time said no.
Don’t you think that if David Cox had been allowed to leave that his wife might have lived, defense attorney Kelsey Rushing asked him.
“I can’t answer that to justify what I did,” said Allen Schavers. “For that situation, we did what was the best we thought.”
Cox, 41, pleaded guilty Aug. 15 to capital murder, which is a killing associated with another felony.
In May 2010, 40-year-old Kim Kirk Cox died during an overnight standoff between her estranged husband and law enforcement at her sister’s home in Sherman.
David Cox also pleaded guilty to two counts of kidnapping, burglary, firing into a dwelling and three counts of sexual assault during a hostage situation including two minor children.
Testimony this week may come from at least one of the children. While he pleaded guilty, he did not give up his right to be sentenced by a jury, which is why this proceeding is under way.
Prosecutors are District Attorney Ben Creekmore with Assistant D.A. Kelly Luther. Defense attorneys are T.R. Trout of New Albany and Kelsey Rushing with the Mississippi Office of Capital Defense.
• • •
(Today is the sentence trial’s fourth day in the Union County Courthouse. Below is a running account of what’s happening. Please excuse the typos and glitches likely. It’s also very difficult to hear in this large courtroom, so some of the details will be paraphrased.)
8:30 A.M. – Judge in place. Defense, pros etc. too. Jury takes seats.
STATE CALLS JAMES HOOD. (Creekmore to question Hood.)
HOOD – SWAT team member. Talks about training. Tupelo SWAT team 10 years. About 100 situations called to. May 14, 2010, in Sherman – paged about activation and meet near incident for briefing. About 10 members responded. Chuck Munn (?) was in charge then. Briefed on situation inside residence, geared up and stood by. Shots had been fired. Set up perimeter around house, tried to determine where they were in house.
Dark when I got there, not sure of time. Before made entry of the house, at scene several hours. After 2-3 a.m. when made entry. (Photo of corner of trailer home.) Points to corner where he and another member went to see if could hear, determined that’s where they were in the house.
(Creekmore – orient jury to this photo.) This is front of house toward road Old 78, car in front of house we were behind. Other law enforcement on scene when I arrived. (What dealing with?) Man in house had shot lady, his wife, had boy and girl hostage. (Did you see him?) Yes. (Is he in courtroom?) (Hesitates ….) It’s been a while since I’ve seen him… think it’s that man at end of table. (defendant) (Creek- aware that he’d injured someone?) Told wife was shot. After setting up by house, we determined they were in corner room of trailer.
(Know who was in charge of talking to man in house?) Our negotiator, Allen Shavers, was talking to him. Talks lasted 6-7 hours. Team there along time that night. (Another photo shows outside of trailer) This is back of trailer. This doorway where we made entry to get to the room. I was in front of house at beginning, behind a car. Set up perimeter, so we could take him into custody if he came out. Also so nobody else could enter scene. Also, so we could get in quick. We were the front line.
(When did unit make entry?) Don’t know… after 3 a.m. Not sure exact time. (When did communication end with man in house?) Prior to making entry. Not sure time. Not part of making decisio to enter.
(Talk about entry decision?) Word came from leader to make entry. We set up one guy at that corner with flash/bang device, distraction device … real loud bang and flash of light. Designed to disorient people 3-4 seconds to give us advantage. About 5-6 team in back of home. Equipment – I was point, had shield, others had long rifles, handguns. Form a straight line into door. Back door was open, didn’t have to breach it. BR door was locked, had to break it down.
(What happens when enter?) We quietly walked through back door. At BR door, we stop. Notify guy with flash/bang to go ahead. WE have ear-pieces and some mics. Can do it stealth. Talking to SWAT commander but talking with man at window for flash/bang, ready to go when he deploys it. (Puts trailer diagram on screen.) Shows route on diagram. Flash/bang goes off … I kicked door. Plan to make entry and secure everybody as safely as we can.
I kicked in door. Tight, I had to do it. (Did you hear anything before entry?) No, all quiet. (Heard anything at all?) Yes, at corner, I heard sounded like moving furniture, mattresses. About a while before we made entry. He throws flash/bang in after another SWAT breaks the window. He throws it in. (What happened then?) Boom, flash of light. Have 1-3 seconds to get in. They don’t know… it’s a surprise. Startled, your mind is trying to process it. We go through door. I go a far in as I can… looking for threats, anybody with a weapon. (See?) I see man laying on bed, two kids / one on each side. Gun to left of him, handgun.
(Hood looks at weapon.) Consistent with weapon saw that night. To the left of him. He was on bed, hands went into the air. I seen him look to his left. (How close are you?) About 6 feet away. Hands up. He looks left, his right hand drops, then hand comes back up. We get kids out, secure weapon and take him into custody. Entire team in room, weapons pointed at him. (When he put his hand down, why?) Looking at this weapon, like he was reaching for it. Everybody yelled police, he put his hand back up.
(Condition of other people in room?) Children had been asleep, they were sleepy, scared. Lady was deceased, laying in floor covered. (Shows photo of inside room.) BR where they were held up. Looks like what I saw that night. Defendant was on mattress on left. (Was area clear to make entry or obstacles?) May have been a chair, not sure. I went as far as I could forward then sidestepped to my right. Bumped into something and stopped. Later, discovered it was the lady.
(After hands go back up?) We made sure he couldn’t get weapon, got kids out then took him into custody. Discovered Mrs. Cox. 9:05
RUSHING TO CROSS EXAMINE. 9:05
Not one of first on scene. Not involved with negotiations. (Period of time when quiet in BR?) Yes, just heard movement like furniture being moved. No voices. Don’t remember time. (When entered room, looked like kids asleep?) Yes. (Cox?) He was awake when we entered. Likely flash/bang woke him. Can’t tell how long anybody was asleep. (How long did you stay at that corner listening?) 2-4 minutes, not real long. Listened, heard and went back to report. Not sure what time.
(When got into BR, identified self. Didn’t have to shoot him?) No, he put his hands up, surrendered. He didn’t pull weapon. Wasn’t in his hand at all. (Assume danger with SWAT?) Yes.
CREEKMORE – REBUTTAL
(When hands were up and looked down?) At weapon. (Reaching?) For the gun. (More dangerous than with hands up?) Yes. (Who is at risk?) Children, right beside him. (More significant because beside him?) Yes, close by is a big threat. Our goal was to first secure children, get hurt out. (Encountered that before? Train for?) Yes we have. 9:11
STATE CALLS ALLEN SHAVERS
SCHAVERS – Tupelo Police Dept. Since 1998 (Luther questions.) May 2010, hostage negotiator, trained. Describes training. Called to Sherman May 14, 2010. Negotiator is part of SWAT and called out with it. Briefed on scene. Learned from Chris Jones that man had taken wife, two children hostage. Somebody had been shot, perhaps wife. (Prior to arrival, any communications?) Not prior. But Jones had tried to make contact. When arrived, been told he had done all he could do. (Contacted person in house?) Called his cell phone with Jones’ phone. Number finally called, said hey, David. He said yes.
Conversation, not sure what time. Focused on getting all info I could about what was going on inside. Tried to make conversation with him. Asked him, know it’s incident, something wrong in house. Are you OK/ Is everybody OK? He said I shot my wife, I shot Kim. (Anything else?) I shot her in the stomach. (I said, let’s let her get out, get medical attention. She’s still alive.) He said no, I want her to die. I said you haven’t killed her yet. His response: Loud voice, angry sound. He would curse and be loud. Obviously angry. Last thing said: You are a negotiator, aren’t you? I said yes I am. He said Fxxx You. Said if you call me back, I’m going to kill them. He hung up.
(Then?) I gave him a few minutes, to calm down. Knew he was upset. I gave him about 10 minutes, called him back. He answered. He said .. I asked about Kim, to get her out … he said, I want you to hear her beg before she dies. I did. Couldn’t get her out. First conversation, she was alert. Heard her voice about getting her children out. (Attys meet at bench. Some in audience quietly emotional on hearing this testimony.)
(Luther continues. He put her on the phone?) Yes. First conversation, she said we’re in BR. Asked her if she could get separation with Cox. She wasn’t able to do that. She wanted us to come into the house but .. I’m a parent … she’s hurting, she’s bleeding. She wanted out, that’s natural human response. But she knew that and she felt that if we were to come in, Cox would shoot. OBJECTION – JUDGE STRIKES THAT PART OF TESTIMONY. (Did she tell you if you could get her out safely?) She didn’t say we could safely extract her, no. Asked where she was, can you get separation with kids from Cox?
(After that with Kim, did Cox get on phone?) After a few mins, he takes the phone and says, See what you are doing? You’re causing her to die. You’re killing her, not me. (Then?) Knowing he was agitated, I gave him a little longer. To try to find some other way. Couple of minutes. Then, I called him back … third time … he answered, he wanted out. Get me out … I’m going to kill the girl. I asked if medic could get Kim out. He was more worried about himself. Told me, no, she’s going to die.
(When he said no?) I began to stall the conversation. Knew he had means and intent. Just talked to him. Negotiated barricaded subjects and held themselves, suicidal people,on top of hospital and wanted to jump … held a child maybe in divorce situation. (Any doubt that Cox could do it?) He had a gun knew he had intent.
(After said about medic and talked, then?) I called back again … stalling .. he got angry and hung up the phone. I was talking to someone who was angry, threatening. Hung up. I gave him a break for a few minutes. (Next contact?) I called back. He answered, third time. He said, since you’re so interested in Kim, I’m going to let you hear her beg… again. Second time I talked to her. (Begged?) Yes. (Cndition?) First time voice, she had more energy. Desperation in voice. Fear in her voice. SEcond time, weaker sound to her voice. (Talk to her again about situation, who’s where etc.?) Yes, again, knowing his intent, had already shot somebody, could shoot somebody else… he kept saying. (To her..?) Asked her, do you think if police come in, will he kill somebody else? She said, I believe he would.
(Talks with Cox?) He wanted a fan for himself. He wanted ice tea. Phone… battery was going down. Wanted charger, we tried to provide him with that. Wanted us to put it on the front porch, out the front door. (Last talk with anybody?) I know it was around midnight or a little after… my focus was trying to find a way out. Never got charger in house. He wouldn’t come to the door to get them. He had a gun, how do I know that if we sent somebody … how know he had intent to draw them in?
(Did communication stop?) I called number until nobody would answer and go to voice mail. Off or battery dead. His wanting charger, good indicator battery was going dead. Assumed battery dead. (Based on talks with Kim.her concerns?) Primary concern, to get children out … most of all wanted her children out. (Did Cox try to get young boy out?) Yes, but he never directed his attention toward the son. Did not threaten him. Remember one time talking about getting David Jr. out, he would let him out. (What thought?) I knew … he direced every bit of anger and intent toward the girl and the mother. I felt that if he let child out, he would go ahead and kill the girl.
(Would be trading one life for two?) Yes. (Why didn’t go in?) Because Kim felt also tht if we went in, Cox would shoot and kill. She already told me when I asked about separation. but she knew that if we did … she said it. I could hear it in her voice. She wanted us to come in but she was hesitant. Like a car salesman, talking to a custoer .. giving all things about car. She wanted out but she didn’t want consequences if we came in.
(Cox’s demeanor?) There again, it was anger. I knew I used … for me to sit here today and not Monday Morning Quarterback, I think we used the best judgment for the cicumstances that night. DONE 9:40
CROSS EXAMINATION BY RUSHING
(Rushing – a lot of what you say is first time I’ve heard it. Your experience is … how many hostages… where parent and child in custody issues. How many like this?) My first one. (How long negotiator?) Since 2001. (First?) Yes like that. (Commented that David wanted out?) He wanted out … (If had had gotten out it would have changed the situation?) Yes, he said get me out of here. If I’d let him walk out, how would I know he wasn’t armed, would shoot somebody. He was very belligerent. (When he said, get me out of here, you didnt?) No. (Decision made that you couldn’t let him out?) He wanted out to leave. He wanted out of the situation.
(When he asked to leave, Mrs. Cox was still alive?) Yes. (At some point, he wanted to get out … making demands. Decision was made not to let him leave?) Yes. (Who made that decision?) Sheriff of Union County. (Not you?) No. (Any reason that if David had walked out to leave that Mrs. Cox would be alive?) I can’t answer that to justify what I did. For that situation, we did what was the best we thought.
(Not asking that. In this situation, if he had walked out?) No way, you can’t just walk away after shoot somebody. No way to know. (If SWAT had thrown flash/bang and disoriented him … no way to know if it would turn out differently?) If went in sooner, would it have disoriented him enough tot take him into custody? Can’t say. No way to know it would work. What if it was a dud?
(Prior testimony says period of time with quiet in house. You describe three calls. Period of shuffling, moving furniture. What did you hear then?) Time we call a break … We talked to people on the scene. Seeking more information. Weren’t talking to David. (Whatever was going on in house, didn’t now what it was?) No, we had to plan for the worst. (Decision made to leave Little David in house. Your first true hostage situation. Not sure what would happen?) Right. We knew that all his anger was directed toward Kim and girl,not David Jr. (Still, you took a chance leaving child in house?) Yes. (Despite fact that Kim said, get my children out. Could have gotten one out? And David said get Little David out?) Yes.
(He contacted others about getting Little David out?) I have no idea who else he contacted. (Last conversation with him?) Not sure what time it was. (Minutes, seconds?) Longer than a few minutes. But less than hours. Don’t know. (At least an hour?) Fair to say. (Your statement says … voice became slurred, groggy. Call went to voice mail.) Don’t have it … to give certain time. Was a time that he wasn’t angry but still, slurred speech, had intent.
(When he got tired, he went to sleep and didn’t talk anymore?) Yes, I told sheriff there’s nothing else I can do. He’s not answering phone. When I call, he goes crazy. Picked up after Chris. (Over several hours, you had 3 calls with David?) Yes. (Judging from what Chris Jones said until you now… over 6 hours talked to him 3 times?) Approximately, talks had good contact with him. (First, he answered phone. … how long until he answered?) Not sure, but when call again and again, not sure how long it took for me to establish contact. (Not 2-3 hours?) No.
(Short talks, he was angry would hang up?) Yes. (You’d wait and try again?) Yes. (He’s answer after a while?) Yes, after a break. (So, say 30 minutes?) I can’t agree to a timeframe. (Wasn’t long breaks?) Break … ? (How long was first one?) I can’t sya how long. Could be 10 or 20 minutes. (Second call, described in detail. Then took another break? How long?) Yes. Probably was a little longer. (Third and final time?) Think third time I made contact… I believe there was four calls. (Took break after?) Yes. (Fourth?) With him … I believe was my fourth call with him. She was sounding weaker and wanted to get the kids out. (I thought he was sounding groggy?) She was bleeding. He was groggy because he’d been up all night. Fourth call.
(After that, no contact at all?) Last time, then no contact. We called and it went to voice mail. (No contact … no information about what was going in house?) We couldn’t see through walls, couldn’t hear through walls. (After groggy conversaton, everything went silent … didn’t go in or know…?) My last conversaton with him… children were not hurt. (One wasn’t allowed out?) Fair recollection.
10:01 – JUDGE – 10 MINUTE BREAK
• • •
(DAILY JOURNAL STORY TODAY)
NEW ALBANY – David Neal Cox Sr. shot his estranged wife and held emergency crews at bay so he could watch her die, District Attorney Ben Creekmore told a jury chosen to decide whether Cox will die or spend the rest of his life in prison.
“He shot her twice,” Creekmore said. “He kept three children hostage there to keep medical attention at bay … so he could watch her die.”
Cox, 41, pleaded guilty Aug. 15 to capital murder, which is a killing associated with another felony. In May 2010, 40-year-old Kim Kirk Cox died during an overnight standoff with law enforcement at her sister’s home in Sherman.
Testimony began Wednesday before a jury of five men and 10 women chosen late Tuesday, the second day of the proceeding in the Union County Courthouse. Three alternates also are hearing the evidence.
The victim’s sister, Christy Salmon, told the jury her sister was scared of her husband, who blamed her for his eight-month incarceration in Pontotoc County. He got out a month before he killed her.
Defense attorneys are expected to try to convince the jury that drugs and mental disorders laid the foundation for Cox’s acts.
He also pleaded guilty to other crimes, including kidnapping and sexual assault during the hostage situation.
The trial could last into Saturday, Judge John Gregory said Tuesday.
Wednesday, other testimony came from the Union County 911 dispatcher who took three calls associated with the Sherman standoff, as well as a Mississippi Bureau of Investigation investigator at the scene.
MBI’s Paul Moore identified the Glock revolver recovered at the Sherman home and said Cox bought it that day from a man in Kosciusko.
Court resumes at 8:30 a.m. when testimony may come from at least one of the children held. Cox admitted having sex three times with one under the age of 14 the night his wife died.
While he pleaded guilty, he did not give up his right to be sentenced by a jury, which is why this proceeding is under way.
Gregory is presiding over his first capital case.
State law requires the jury to be sequestered, that is, housed overnight by the state. Two days of jury selection already have cost Union County about $20,000 for an expanded jury pool of nearly 450.
Creekmore and Assistant D.A. Kelly Luther represent the state. Defense attorneys are T.R. Trout of New Albany and Kelsey Rushing and Andre de Gruy with the Mississippi Office of Capital Defense.