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Mississippi Man Executed For Killing Wife, Sexually Assaulting 12-Year-Old Daughter
“I want to tell my children that I love them very, very much, and that I was a good man at one time,” David Neal Cox said shortly before he was executed at Mississippi State Penitentiary.
A Mississippi man who was convicted in the deadly 2010 shooting of his wife and the sexual assault of her pre-teen daughter was put to death on Tuesday.
David Neal Cox, 51, was executed by lethal injection on Nov. 17 at Mississippi State Penitentiary in Sunflower County, correctional officials confirmed. Cox, who wore a red jumpsuit, was pronounced dead at 6:12 p.m. by Sunflower County Coroner Heather Burton. Officials said Cox’s lethal injection consisted of a mixture of three chemicals: midazolam, vecuronium bromide and potassium chloride.
“He died peacefully and without incident,” Mississippi Department Of Corrections Commissioner Burl Cain said during a press conference following the execution. “I’ve never seen an execution go smoother.”
The 51-year-old, who met with spiritual advisors and at least one family member prior to his execution, gave brief last words before the sentence was carried out.
“I want to tell my children that I love them very, very much, and that I was a good man at one time, and only read the King James [version] of the Bible, and I appreciate the Commissioner for being so nice to me,” Cox said. “That’s all I got to say.”
After being administered the lethal cocktail of chemicals, Cox took a number of deep breaths, the Associated Press reported. He was pronounced dead approximately 15 minutes later.
Cox’s execution marked the first in Mississippi in nearly a decade. Gary Carl Simmons Jr., who was put to death in June 2012, was the last death row inmate to receive capital punishment in the state, according to the Jackson Free Press. The state had performed six executions that year.
Cox was executed for fatally shooting his estranged wife Kim Kirk Cox and sexually assaulted her then-12-year-old daughter three times in front of her as she lay dying. He called his wife's father to tell him he had shot his daughter, and held the phone up to the woman so that she could confirm her injuries to her father, according to CBS News. Cox then held the daughter and her younger brother hostage for eight hours with the police outside until their mother was dead.
"Mama was laying on the floor,” Lindsey Kirk, now 23, recalled, the Associated Press reported. “She was bleeding," she said of that day.
Cox had been assaulting her stepdaughter for years, Lindsey Kirk told the AP, and had promised to kill her and her mother if she told anyone. She nonetheless told her mother via text message in 2009 while staying with her grandparents and then reported it to the police, who arrested him shortly thereafter but released him without trial in 2010. He was subject to a restraining order at the time of the murder.
"He’s evil," Kim Cox’s father, Benny Kirk said.
Cox later pleaded guilty in 2012 and was sentenced to death, according to online jail records.
Cox had discharged his lawyers and instructed his legal team in late October to not file anymore appeals on his behalf, officials said, claiming he was “worthy of death,” CBS News reported.
His victim, Lindsey, Kirk told The Associated Press last week, “When I found out that he was wanting to go ahead and get it over with, I wasn’t really happy about it. Like, I kind of just wanted him to sit there."
“I guess I’m OK with it now," she added.
Cox’s execution was nonetheless protested by a number of death penalty abolition groups. Hours before Cox was scheduled to enter the execution chamber, an online petition urging the state’s Republican Governor Tate Reeves to halt his execution had garnered nearly 5,000 signatures, the Clarion-Ledger reported. Reeves declined, citing Cox's confession to his "horrific crimes."