David Neal Cox Sr. had been in the Pontotoc County Jail in lieu of $200,000 bond set by Justice Court Judge Phil Weeks since Aug. 7, 2009. Cox was charged with sexual battery, statutory rape, possession of controlled substances, child endangerment and possession of precursors with intent to manufacture methamphetamine.
At the request of Cox's public defender, Jim Johnstone, and with the agreement of then-Assistant District Attorney Larry Baker, Circuit Judge Jim Pounds of Booneville reduced the bond on April 9 to $50,000 on two of those charges. A $13,000 bond set by Circuit Judge Thomas Gardner on the sex charges and the possession of controlled substance charge was unchanged.
"I don't reduce a bond unless the D.A. agrees to it or they recommend it," Pounds said. "I handle close to 1,800 cases a year ... and they know these people better than we do."
Baker has moved to a job with the Mississippi Attorney General's Office, and Assistant District Attorney Heather Joyner declined to comment, noting the cases are still open. A central claim in Cox's motion for reduced bond was the fact that the sex charges were unindicted.
A paperwork trail shows Kim Cox was afraid as soon as she found David Cox was getting out of jail. Weeks granted her a first order of protection, and later Judge Jacqueline Mask extended the order in Chancery Court.
In her petition, Kim Cox wrote that in early August her husband had told a neighbor "that he was going to kill me and showed him the gun he was going to do it with."
She also wrote her husband called her from jail to have her bring their sons to see him.
"When I told him no he told me I would be sorry and he would kill me when he got out," she wrote.
Whether the Chancery Court order was communicated to the district attorney's office is unclear.
"We can hold people without bond, but only if the D.A.'s office puts on evidence that they are a flight risk or are inherently dangerous to the community," said Pounds, a former prosecutor. "The D.A.'s office could have filed a petition with me to have his bond revoked."
Contact Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or firstname.lastname@example.org.