09/14/06 — Testimony begins in Cox murder trial

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Testimony begins in Cox murder trial

By Lee Williams
Published in News on September 14, 2006 1:59 PM

Cradling two sawed off shotguns, Telly Cox and Chris Brown jumped into Alonza Bedell's silver Chevrolet Malibu and bragged about the crimes they had just committed.

"We shot them," Miss Bedell said, repeating what the men told her. Miss Bedell calmly recounted the events during the Cox double murder trial Wednesday.

Cox and Brown are accused of fatally shooting Michael Shawn Maynard, 30, and Christie Nicole Jones, 25, on New Year's Day in 2004 at Maynard's home on Garrick Lane. Maynard's then 7-year-old daughter, who lives out-of-state, witnessed the murders.

Cox and Brown were full of rage and excitement, Miss Bedell recounted.

"They were like drive, drive, and they had guns and they were like full of rage," Miss Bedell said. "Chris was like, go to Fremont. He was threatening to get some guy named James."

The men grew increasingly paranoid as Miss Bedell headed to Fremont.

"They were acting like they were scared. They said they saw blue lights. I kept asking what they did ... and they never said they killed anybody," Miss Bedell said.

Miss Bedell and Brown spent several hours together drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana with friends to ring in the new year hours before the murders. But it didn't take long for Miss Bedell, Brown's girlfriend, to realize she was not being asked to drive around, she was being forced.

Brown's shotgun was aimed in her direction toward the air and the barrel of Cox's shotgun was pressed against her back. She said she heard a clinking sound as bullets rolled around on the floor in the back seat.

Cox, 23, of LaGrange Road, LaGrange, and Brown, 22, of Forest Knolls Road, never found James. As they drove through Goldsboro, Bedell stopped at a gas station on Ash Street. She wanted to ask for help, but Cox and Brown threatened her not to say a word.

"Go in there if you want to. We'll shoot it up. We'll blow it up," Miss Bedell said the men said. Cox, who wore a striped shirt, khakis and cream-colored dress shoes, stared at Miss Bedell as she spoke.

Instead of asking for help, Miss Bedell purchased a pack of cigarettes and got back into the car. She told the jurors she feared for her safety.

Brown slipped out of Miss Bedell's car on Elm Street, taking her wallet and cellphone with him. On the way to Cox's home, Cox tried to lay the blame for what happened at Brown's feet.

"He was trying to twist it like everything was on Chris. He was like he's tripping. Oh, I just want to go home," Miss Bedell testified. "I don't like hanging around him. I just want to go home."

When she noticed her wallet containing money, credit cards, her debit card and driver's license was missing, Cox, a convicted burglar, chimed in.

"Chris stole all of your belongings," Miss Bedell said Cox said.

Cox gave her a 1-800 number to call, so that she could cancel her credit cards. He let her use his home phone when they arrived at Cox's house.

The 1-800 number did not work, so she left, Miss Bedell said.

Brown has since pleaded guilty to the murders and is serving a life sentence in prison. Bedell, who has a criminal history, also pleaded guilty for being an accessory to the murders after they were committed. She is awaiting sentencing.

Miss Bedell and several others, including a federal prisoner and a state prisoner who was Maynard's nephew by marriage, took the stand.

Before they testified, Wayne County Assistant District Attorney Claud Ferguson mapped out the case during opening statements. He said physical evidence found at the crime scene linked Cox and Brown to the murders.

Ferguson told the jurors that Cox's fingerprint was found on Maynard's gun cabinet from which two shotguns were stolen and his footprint was found at the scene.

Ferguson also testified that Brown still had Maynard's blood on his pants when he was arrested several hours after the murders Jan. 1, 2004.

According to witness testimony, Brown knew Maynard because Brown often sold cocaine to him and would occasionally use cocaine with him.

Defense Attorney Mike Howell also laid out his case. He said Cox was forced to participate in the crimes. The first chance Cox had to get away, he took it.

Howell told the jurors when Cox and Brown entered Maynard's home, Brown, who was in the midst of a three-day crack binge, turned the shotgun on Cox and told him to go into the house and get the guns.

The two men were accused of trying to rape Miss Jones who relied on a wheelchair to get around after she was seriously injured in a car accident. Miss Jones was told to undress for the sexual assault, but the sexual assault never occurred, according to reports.

Howell explained to the jurors that Brown was the one who told Miss Jones to disrobe -- not Cox.

The case is expected to resume at 9 a.m. today in courtroom 4 at the Wayne County Courthouse. Superior Court Judge Russell J. Lanier Jr. is presiding over the case.

Cox faces two counts of first-degree murder and first-degree kidnapping and one count of attempted first-degree rape and armed robbery.

Cox could receive a mandatory life imprisonment without the possibility of parole if convicted of the murders.