May 28, 2022 9:00 pm
Prison chief: Mississippi preps for 1st execution since 2012

Prison chief: Mississippi preps for 1st execution since 2012

JACKSON (Miss. (AP) — Mississippi prisoners will hold once-a week rehearsals to prepare for the state’s first execution since 2012, Corrections Commission Burl Cain said.

Cain told The Associated Press on Friday that the rehearsals for a lethal injection are usually done once a month at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman, following a protocol that’s about 20 pages long.

“Very detailed,” Cain stated.

The Mississippi Supreme on Thursday set a Nov. 17 execution date for David Neal Cox, who pleaded guilty in 2012 to killing his wife, Kim, in 2010 in the northern Mississippi town of Shannon. Cox filed court papers once claiming he was “worthy of death” and withdrew his appeals. Mississippi had six executions in the year ..

Cain confirmed that Mississippi had received lethal injection drugs. However, he declined to give details.

” I’m not allowed to talk too much about the drugs,” Cain stated.

Mississippi still faces a lawsuit in 2015 filed by Roderick & Solange MacArthur Justice Center for two inmates. The suit claims Mississippi’s lethal injection protocol was inhumane.

Since pharmaceutical companies in Europe and the United States began blocking executions, many states have struggled to find drugs for lethal injections.

According to court papers , Cox killed his wife twice, then sexually assaulted the stepdaughter in front a dying Kim Cox. While relatives and police negotiators pleaded for her safety, David Cox pleaded guilty in the absence of a plea bargain with prosecutors to sexual battery, kidnapping, and other charges. The death penalty was not precluded. He was sentenced to death by a jury.

Union County Circuit Court Judge Kent Smith ruled in April that Cox, 50, was mentally competent to waive his appeals. Smith’s decision was appealed by the Mississippi Office of Capital Post-Conviction Counsel. On Thursday justices affirmed Smith’s decision , and denied appeal by the Office of Capital Post Conviction Counsel.

Cox wrote in August 2018 to the Chief Justice of Mississippi Supreme Court, requesting that he fire his lawyers and relinquish all appeals to get an execution date.

In the ruling Thursday, justices wrote that in November 2018, Cox filed court papers saying “I am worthy of death.”

Justices had ordered the circuit judge to hold a competency hearing. Cox’s attorneys argued that he was not mentally competent to waive his appeals. They also claimed that it would be against the constitution for the state execute him.

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Follow Emily Wagster Pettus on Twitter at http://twitter.com/EWagsterPettus.