Say What Now? Man Claimed Son-In-Law Killed Daughter But The Truth Is More Twisted -- And 'Incestuous': Prosecutors |

Say What Now? Man Claimed Son-In-Law Killed Daughter But The Truth Is More Twisted — And ‘Incestuous’: Prosecutors

Surveillance footage told a very different story following the deaths of the man’s daughter and son-in-law, while his fellow inmates and family revealed the convicted killer’s alleged “incestuous relationship with his daughter.”

FAYETTEVILLE, WV (WOAY) – A Fayette County man has received two life sentences for the murder of his daughter and son-in-law. In the process, he threatened the lives of the prosecuting attorney who successfully secured his conviction.

A Fayette County jury convicted Carl Cox of shooting his daughter Rhonda and son-in-law James Neal to death while they were in bed during the early morning hours of January 27, 2022.

Today, Judge Paul Blake handed down the maximum penalty permissible by law: two consecutive life sentences. Because the jury returned a verdict with mercy, Cox is eligible for parole in 30 years.

He is 64 years old.

Cox initially declined the opportunity to address the court on his own behalf during sentencing. He eventually interjected as Judge Blake read his decision, directly threatening Prosecuting Attorney Anthony Ciliberti in a profanity-laden tirade that claimed “Fayette County” is out to get him.

He again made threats when he was escorted from the courtroom following the hearing, claiming there would be “a heck of a party in Fayetteville” if he could successfully get his case overturned.

Ciliberti said Cox’s belligerence was nothing new and did not discourage him from prosecuting the case.

“Mr. Cox has threatened to kill me,” Ciliberti said. “I’m not going to go away simply because a defendant is going to act that way. We have a job to do. This isn’t personal. Mr. Cox seems to think it’s personal, but it’s not. We’re going to put forth the effort that we have to put forth to get the conviction and to get justice for the families of the victims.”

Carl’s son, Clifford Cox, made a statement to Newswatch directly after the hearing, saying he wanted to set the record straight. He argued that there was a “vendetta” against his father in Fayette County. While he didn’t give specifics, he did blame poor police work for his father’s conviction.

“I’ve been around him for 32 years of my life. if I thought he would have killed my sister out of cold blood, I wouldn’t be here standing by him,” he said. “There wasn’t enough evidence. He actually got railroaded.”

The argument that there was a lack of evidence did not convince the jury. It returned a verdict of guilty on both counts of first-degree murder in under an hour at the end of Cox’s trial on February 16.

The argument didn’t fly with Judge Blake, who said during the sentencing hearing that he was surprised that the jury even recommended mercy.

It also didn’t fly with Ciliberti, who said multiple agencies assisted in the investigation.

“There’s been quite a bit of effort put forth, not only from my office,” he said. “Members of the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department were involved in the investigation. Members of the West Virginia State Police forensic lab were involved in helping us analyze the evidence in this case.”

Evidence brought forward during the trial included testimony from family members and Cox’s cellmate, photos and analysis of the crime scene itself, and perhaps most importantly, footage from a home surveillance system that documented Cox’s movements throughout the house on the night of the murder.

Ciliberti believes Cox thought the system was off.

“The interesting thing from my perspective is that there was a home surveillance system in the house, and we believe the defendant did not realize that the home surveillance system was functional,” Ciliberti said. “What you see before the shooting took place, as you see Mr. Cox walking up the steps, and he has the murder weapon in a holster strapped to his left hip… the defendant was in possession of the murder weapon immediately prior to the shooting.”

Cox claimed that Neal shot his wife, Rhonda. Cox claimed that he ran into the bedroom and wrestled the gun away. In the chaos, Neal was also shot and killed, according to Cox. The state rejected this explanation based on blood stains that did not indicate a struggle.

Cox’s explanation for how the gun made its way from Cox’s hip into Neal’s possession is a bit more tricky. Cox claimed he left it in the bathroom, and Neal took it from there. According to Ciliberti, however, the video shows that’s not possible based on timestamps of the video that showed Cox moving through the house.

“Quite frankly, his explanation just wasn’t believable,” Ciliberti said. “There was only about a 2.5 minute window between these two videos. What the defendant said happened just could not have happened in that short of a time frame.”

As for motive, Ciliberti argued in court that he believes Cox feared his daughter would reveal what has been alleged to be an incestuous relationship between Carl and Rhonda that lasted much of Rhonda’s life.

Clifford Cox doesn’t believe it.

“I lived with them. I was with Rhonda. She basically raised me my whole life,” Clifford Cox said. “There was no proof. There was no evidence of an incest relationship over thousands of messages between her and her husband.”

The state painted a far different picture in court. Three witnesses brought forward evidence about the alleged incestuous relationship. One was Cox’s former cellmate who stayed with him while he awaited trial. He said Cox told him that he meant to kill Neal to hide the alleged incest. The other two were family members who provided evidence of the relationship.

Cox has the chance to appeal the verdict, something he and his son said they would do.

“We’re going to appeal and see what happens,” Clifford Cox said.

Ciliberti said he didn’t think Cox’s outburst played a major role in the judge’s sentence. Rather, he said it came down to Cox’s attitude towards the murder. He said Cox had acted similarly throughout the trial.

“The bigger for the court, I believe, was the fact that we had somebody that murdered two people and then took the stand during his trial and presented testimony that objectively, I believe, was completely false,” Ciliberti said.

via: WOAY

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