Mississippi executes convicted killer, its first since 2012

FILE PHOTO: Undated photo shows the entrance of the Mississippi State Penitentiary
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(Reuters) - A Mississippi man who shot his estranged wife to death and sexually assaulted his stepdaughter during an eight-hour 2010 standoff with police was put to death on Wednesday, local media reported.

David Cox, who in 2018 dismissed his attorneys and dropped his appeals in the case, saying he deserved the death penalty, was the first prisoner executed in Mississippi in nine years.

He was pronounced dead at 6:12 p.m. central time (0012 GMT Thursday) at the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman, the Clarion-Ledger newspaper reported.

The condemned man, in his final words said: "I want to tell my children that I love them very, very much and that I was a good man at one time," Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Burl Cain told the paper.

Cox was the first inmate executed in Mississippi since 2012 and the ninth executed in the United States in 2021. Mississippi is among the U.S. states that have had recent difficulties in buying lethal-injection drugs from pharmaceutical companies unwilling to supply them for executions.

Cox had petitioned the Mississippi Supreme Court for all attorneys to be removed from the case and all appeals on his behalf to be halted. In 2018, Cox wrote a letter to the court's chief justice, saying that he was "a guilty man worthy of death."

On May 14, 2010, Cox bought a gun and went to his sister-in-law's Sherman, Mississippi, home where his estranged wife Kim, their two children and his stepdaughter lived. Cox shot his way into the home and took his wife and two of the children hostage for more than eight hours, prosecutors said.

During the standoff with police, Cox shot his wife in the stomach and arm. As she lay dying for several hours, he sexually assaulted his stepdaughter three times in front of her.

He also refused medical treatment for his wife, forcing her to beg for her life to hostage negotiators, court documents showed.

Police entered the home early the next morning and arrested Cox. A jury sentenced him to die in 2012 after he pleaded guilty to all eight charges he faced, including capital murder.

(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Chicago; Additional reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Aurora Ellis, Shri Navaratnam and Christian Schmollinger)

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