02/05/06 — Confessed murderer considered for parole

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Confessed murderer considered for parole

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on February 5, 2006 2:13 AM

A man sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty in 1993 to second-degree murder is being considered for parole.

Lionel Lamont Cox, now 33, of Lillington is being considered for release under the mutual agreement parole program, or MAPP, a scholastic and vocational program. MAPP is a three-way agreement among the commission, the state Division of Prisons and the offender.

The N.C. Post-Release Supervision and Parole Commission is collecting information for and against parole. Anyone interested in commenting was asked to call the commission at 1-919-716-3010 or writing to its members at 2020 Yonkers Road, Raleigh, N.C. 27699-4222.

The state's current structured sentencing law eliminated parole for offenders whose crimes were committed after Sept. 30, 1994. The commission is responsible for paroling offenders who were sentenced under previous guidelines.

Cox was charged with the first-degree murder of James "Pop" Raynor. The 68-year-old Raynor was found dead Dec. 27, 1991, of multiple gunshots wounds in the bedroom of his home on U.S. 13 South, about three miles south of Grantham.

Cox surrendered to authorities more than a year later, on April 18, 1993, and was charged with the murder. He had flagged down a Goldsboro police officer on Slocumb Street and told him that he had murdered someone and wanted to turn himself in.

Cox confessed to the shooting in his first statement to Sheriff's Detective George Raecher. In a second interview, he denied the charges and blamed someone else.

Raecher read the first statement during the sentencing hearing. He said Cox admitted to shooting Raynor two times in the head and three times in the chest with a handgun.

Cox claimed he feared for his life because he owed Raynor money for drugs.

"On the night I went to Pop, I went there with the intent to kill him," Raecher quoted Cox as saying. "Pop had me scared that he was going to kill me over the money I owed him."

Cox also admitted to stealing $300 from Raynor and disposing of the murder weapon on Interstate 95 while driving between Dunn and Fayetteville. The weapon was not recovered.

Judge Gary Trawick of Burgaw sentenced Cox on Sept. 30, 1993. The defendant was represented by lawyer Shelby D. Benton of Goldsboro. Assistant District Attorney Claud Ferguson prosecuted the case.