The Mississippi Supreme Court has scheduled an execution in the case of a Union County man convicted of killing his wife — the first execution scheduled in Mississippi since 2012.

David Neal Cox was sentenced to death in 2012.

David Neal Cox was sentenced to death in 2012 after pleading guilty to all eight charges against him, including one count of capital murder, two counts of kidnapping, one count of burglary, one of firing into a dwelling, and three counts of sexual battery. 

In 2010, Cox broke into the home of his sister-in-law, shot his estranged wife twice, and barricaded himself, his wife, his son and his stepdaughter in the home for 10 hours. The wife died due to lack of medical treatment, and the stepdaughter was sexually assaulted twice during the 10-hour period.

Cox’s attorneys filed a petition for post-conviction relief (the lessening of a sentence) in 2016 citing multiple issues with the trial, but Cox subsequently submitted multiple motions asking to have his court-counsel dismissed, all appeals terminated, and his execution scheduled. Cox has submitted multiple letters to the court stating his guilt and his belief that he should be executed. 

A hearing occurred in February 2021 to determine Cox’s mental competence, which found that he was capable of understanding the gravity of the situation and that his motions could be honored. His court-appointed attorneys submitted appeals to this ruling, which resulted in the Supreme Court decision that was issued today.

The Supreme Court scheduled Cox to be executed on Nov. 17, 2021, at 6 p.m.

Mississippi Today reporter Geoff Pender contributed to this reporting. 


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Julia James is Mississippi Today's poverty and breaking news reporter. A native of Mandeville, Louisiana, James recently completed an investigative reporting internship with Mississippi Today. In that role, she closely covered the sprawling welfare scandal and public education. She will continue that work, as well as working closely with Mississippi Today’s breaking news team. James is a 2021 graduate of the University of Mississippi, where she studied journalism and public policy and was in the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. She has been published in The New York Times, Mississippi Today, and Clarion Ledger.