Mississippi executes first inmate since 2012

PARCHMAN, Miss. — A person who pleaded responsible to killing his estranged spouse and sexually assaulting her younger daughter as her mom lay dying was put to loss of life Wednesday night, turning into the primary inmate executed in Mississippi in 9 years.

David Neal Cox, 50, exhausted appeals and filed courtroom papers calling himself “worthy of loss of life.” He appeared calm as he obtained a deadly injection. A coroner pronounced him lifeless at 6:12 p.m. on the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman.

Cox wore a crimson jail jumpsuit and was lined by a white sheet through the execution. Vast leather-based straps held him down on a gurney.

“I need my kids to know that I like them very a lot and that I used to be a great man at one time,” Cox mentioned simply earlier than the injection began. “Don’t ever learn something however the King James Bible.”

Cox thanked the state corrections commissioner, Burl Cain, for “being very sort to me. And that’s all I acquired to say.”

Cox appeared to take a number of deep breaths after the deadly chemical substances began flowing by means of a transparent plastic tube into his physique, and his mouth moved some. He was pronounced lifeless inside a couple of minutes.

Cox was sentenced to loss of life for the 2010 deadly taking pictures of his estranged spouse, Kim Kirk Cox.

Cox pleaded responsible in 2012 to capital homicide. He additionally pleaded responsible to a number of different costs, together with sexual assault. A jury handed down the loss of life sentence.

Prosecutors mentioned Cox shot his spouse and let her bleed to loss of life over a number of hours whereas he sexually assaulted his stepdaughter 3 times in entrance of her dying mom.

The Mississippi Division of Corrections revealed in courtroom papers earlier this yr that it had acquired three medicine for the deadly injection protocol: midazolam, which is a sedative; vecuronium bromide, which paralyzes the muscle mass; and potassium chloride, which stops the guts.

David Neal Cox.
Mississippi Division of Corrections by way of AP

Cain instructed The Related Press on Tuesday that the medicine listed within the courtroom data had been those getting used for the execution. He wouldn’t say the place the division obtained them.

“He died peacefully and with out incident,” Cain mentioned at a information convention, based on an announcement from the state corrections division. “I’ve by no means seen an execution go smoother.”

Mississippi carried out six executions in 2012. The state doesn’t have any others scheduled among the many greater than 30 individuals at present on its loss of life row.

Dying penalty opponents have criticized “atrocious” circumstances on the jail underneath federal investigation the place Cox was executed.

The Mississippi Division of Corrections revealed in courtroom papers earlier this yr that it had acquired three medicine for the deadly injection protocol: midazolam, which is a sedative; vecuronium bromide, which paralyzes the muscle mass; and potassium chloride, which stops the guts.

The Justice Division opened a civil rights investigation into the Mississippi jail system in February 2020 after a string of inmate deaths over the earlier months. Federal prosecutors mentioned they’d look into the circumstances at 4 state prisons following the deaths of at the least 15 inmates since December 2019. The inquiry is analyzing whether or not state corrections officers are adequately defending prisoners from bodily hurt and whether or not there are enough well being care and suicide prevention providers.

The investigation will particularly deal with circumstances at Parchman, the Southern Mississippi Correctional Institute, the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility and the Wilkinson County Correctional Facility, the Justice Division mentioned. A Justice Division spokesperson mentioned Wednesday that the investigation continues.

“Parchman Farm is underneath investigation by the Division of Justice for jail circumstances which are atrocious,” Abraham Bonowitz, the manager director of Dying Penalty Motion, an anti-death penalty activist group, mentioned Tuesday as he gathered with different activists on the state capital in Jackson. “Brown consuming water. David Cox and different prisoners report being bitten by rats. So when someone will get to the purpose of claiming, ‘Hey, I’ve acquired a straightforward means out, I’m going to take it,’ it’s important to ask why.”

Dying Penalty Motion had petitioned Reeves to intervene in Cox’s execution.

Bonowitz and others who need to abolish the loss of life penalty, together with some spiritual leaders, acknowledged Cox’s guilt Tuesday. However they mentioned that if Cox is killed and the state resumes executing inmates, his loss of life will irritate systemic points across the loss of life penalty, such because the disproportionate killing of individuals of coloration and typically harmless individuals.

“Whereas tomorrow’s execution shouldn’t be considered one of doable innocence, resuming executions in Mississippi brings us nearer to the chance of killing the harmless,” mentioned Lea Campbell, the founder and president of the Mississippi Rising Coalition.

Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican, mentioned in an announcement launched by his spokesman, Bailey Martin, on Wednesday that the governor had no intention of granting clemency or delaying the execution.

Inmates at Parchman have alleged that persistent workers shortages and rampant violence have led some prisoners to insert their very own catheters, deal with their very own stab wounds and undergo by means of seizures with out remedy. A federal lawsuit filed in February 2020 mentioned that in lots of cases, there was just one guard for each 160 inmates.

The lawsuit was the second filed in consecutive months with the assistance of the rappers Jay-Z and Yo Gotti, who’ve been protesting the “inhumane and harmful circumstances of confinement” in prisons. The pair additionally launched an open letter calling on Reeves to close down the power, which they write has turn into “a shameful image of society’s ethical decay.”

The grievance was filed on behalf of 152 inmates who say that they’re underneath “fixed peril” at Parchman and that the setting is “so barbaric, the deprivation of well being and psychological well being care so excessive, and the defects in safety so extreme, that the individuals confined at Parchman reside a depressing and hopeless existence confronted each day by imminent danger of considerable hurt in violation of their rights underneath the U.S. Structure.”