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Mississippi Killer Confessed to Another Murder Before His Execution

A Mississippi man, executed last month for murdering his estranged wife in 2010, made a startling admission in his final days: He had also killed his sister-in-law three years earlier.

The man, David Neal Cox, told his lawyers that he had been responsible for the 2007 slaying of Felecia Cox, who disappeared in Pontotoc County in northern Mississippi, John Weddle, the local district attorney, said during a news conference on Monday.

Mr. Cox, 50, gave his lawyers detailed instructions on where to find her remains, waiving his attorney-client privilege upon his death so that they could share the information with prosecutors after his Nov. 17 execution, Mr. Weddle said.

Two days later, Mr. Cox’s lawyers sent a letter alerting Mr. Weddle’s office to the confession, which they corroborated in a statement this week.

At the time that she was killed, Ms. Cox, who was married to a brother of Mr. Cox, was 40. David Cox had long been the prime suspect in the cold case, prosecutors said. His execution by lethal injection was Mississippi’s first in nearly a decade.

“All that he said was that he was sorry for taking my mom away and that her death was senseless, and that he should have never harmed her,” Amber Miskelly, Ms. Cox’s daughter, said in an interview on Tuesday.

Ms. Miskelly, 32, said that she received a letter on Monday from Mr. Cox’s lawyers expressing remorse for her mother’s killing.

“I felt relieved, but it upset me all over again,” Ms. Miskelly, who lives in Ripley, Miss., said.

Mr. Weddle said in an interview on Tuesday that Mr. Cox had not said how he had killed his sister-in-law, but that investigators would begin searching for her remains. They were expected to enlist the help of anthropologists and archaeologists from Mississippi State University, he said.

“He was the last person to see her alive back in 2007, but, of course, he never confessed to anything,” Mr. Weddle said. “Having something to take to a grand jury back then would have been almost impossible.”

Mr. Cox was executed on Nov. 17. He had pleaded guilty to shooting his wife, Kim Kirk Cox, and sexually assaulting her daughter in 2010.Credit…Mississippi Department of Corrections, via Associated Press

In May 2010, Mr. Cox fatally shot Kim Kirk Cox, 40, who had separated from him, while she was staying at a sister’s home in Union County, Miss., according to court records. As his estranged wife lay there dying, Mr. Cox repeatedly sexually assaulted his stepdaughter, who was 12, the authorities said.

In 2012, Mr. Cox pleaded guilty to one count of capital murder, three counts of sexual battery, two counts of kidnapping, one count of burglary and one count of firing into a dwelling during the confrontation, which had led to an hourslong standoff with the police.

A jury sentenced him to death later that year, but his execution was delayed as he mounted appeals. Mr. Cox abandoned those appeals in 2018. This fall, the Mississippi Supreme Court found that Mr. Cox had been mentally competent when he waived his rights to an appeal.

In a statement on Monday, Mississippi’s Office of Capital Post-Conviction Counsel, which represented Mr. Cox, said of his confession to killing Felecia Cox, “Mr. Cox felt deep remorse and wanted to bring closure to her family.” The office declined to comment further on Tuesday.

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