PARCHMAN • For the last three years, David Neal Cox has asked the state officials to execute him by lethal injection for the capital murder of his wife in May 2010.

Wednesday evening, the Mississippi Department of Corrections granted his wish.

Cox, 50, was pronounced dead at 6:12 p.m. on Nov. 17 inside the execution room at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman.

In his final words, Cox offered no remorse for his victims, nor did he mention the location of his sister-in-law, missing since 2007.

“I want my children to know that I loved them very much, and I was a good man at one time,” Cox said at 6:03 p.m. while strapped to the table awaiting lethal injection. “Don’t ever read anything but the King James Bible. That’s all I got to say.”

After the three-drug cocktail began flowing into his arm at 6:05 p.m., Cox began taking deeper, more labored breaths. Sunflower County Coroner Heather Burton pronounced him dead seven minutes later.

MDOC Commissioner Burl Cain said the execution went as smoothly as possible.

The victims’ family did not make any public comments at the execution.

Cain described Cox as “upbeat” on Wednesday afternoon in the hours leading to his death. For his final meal, Cox requested fried catfish, coleslaw, hush puppies, French fries and banana pudding.

Following the MDOC execution protocol, Cox was moved from his normal maximum security cell in Unit 29, Sunday, to Unit 17, a separate building that houses the execution room and witness room.

“We met with him for about 45 minutes to talk about what would happen, the process we would follow and what he wanted for his last meal,” Cain said. “He was upbeat.”

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The commissioner said Cox did express “a little bit” of remorse toward his victims but would not be specific when pressed for details by the media.

This was the first execution in Mississippi since Gary Carl Simmons, Jr. was put to death June 20, 2012. It was the first for Cain as commissioner, but he oversaw seven executions when he held the same position at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola.

Cox pleaded guilty to capital murder for killing his estranged wife, Kim Kirk Cox. After shooting his wife two times, he sexually assaulted his stepdaughter in front of the dying woman during an eight-hour hostage situation. In September 2012, a Union County jury sentenced Cox to death plus another 185 years for other felonies committed that same night.

Cox appealed the death sentence several times unsuccessfully. In a series of letters during the summer of 2018, Cox seemingly resigned himself to his fate. He then started petitioning the state to let him waive all future appeals and be executed.

While he admitted his guilt, Cox never showed remorse before the day of his execution.

In a handwritten July 2018 letter to District Attorney Ben Creekmore and Circuit Judge Kelly Luther, Cox said he "very happily & premeditatedly slaughtered" Kim Cox. He added that he would "ever so gladly dig" her up and kill her again if he had the chance.

The following month, he wrote to then Chief Justice William Waller Jr. asking to waive all appeals and be executed. "I do here this day stand on MS death row a guilty man worthy of death."

In an August 2018 motion to dismiss his state-appointed attorneys, Cox petitioned the court to "execute my body for crimes ... which I did commit in premeditation, anger and joy."

Following a competency hearing in February, Circuit Court Judge Kent Smith ruled that Cox could waive his appeals and move forward with the execution. Six months later, the high court affirmed the decision and set the execution date.

Only four people showed up for a peaceful protest outside the penitentiary gate Wednesday evening.

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