09/22/06 — Jury will determine Cox's fate

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Jury will determine Cox's fate

By Lee Williams
Published in News on September 22, 2006 1:47 PM

The fate of a LaGrange man accused of fatally shooting a Goldsboro couple with an accomplice on New Year's Day in 2004 now lies in the hands of the jury.

Jury deliberation will begin today in the Telly Cox trial.

The evidence portion of the case wrapped up at 5:15 p.m. Thursday after jurors heard testimony from defense witnesses and closing arguments from the state prosecutor and defense attorneys.

Defense attorney Rosemary Godwin pointed to Cox's statement that he gave to Capt. George Raecher at the Wayne County Sheriff's Department on the day he was arrested Jan. 2, 2004. Ms. Godwin told the jurors evidence presented in the case showed Cox was telling the truth.

"If you take your time, use your common sense, go through the photographs and physical evidence, you will determine what Telly told Capt. Raecher is an accurate account of exactly what happened that evening," Ms. Godwin said.

Cox faces two counts of first-degree murder and kidnapping and one count of attempted first-degree rape and armed robbery. The charges stem from allegations Cox and his accomplice, 22-year-old Chris Brown, murdered Michael Maynard, 30, and his girlfriend, Christie Jones, 25, in Maynard's mobile home on Garrick Lane, while his 7-year-old daughter, Bailey, was in the house.

After the murders, Cox and Brown allegedly stole a crossbow, two .22-caliber rifles and a box of shotgun shells from Maynard's home.

Brown allegedly knew Maynard because he sold and used cocaine with him. He has since pleaded guilty to the murders Jan. 19 and is serving two consecutive life sentences.

Brown's girlfriend, 22-year-old Alonza Bedell, who drove the getaway car and initially lied to authorities, also pleaded guilty Jan. 19 to two counts of being an accessory to the crime after the fact.

Ms. Godwin pointed to Cox's statement again and added Cox acted under coercion. Brown threatened to shoot him if he did not participate, but Cox helped when he could, she said.

Cox kept Maynard's daughter, Bailey, safe by placing her in the closet and he disarmed Brown at Nikki Champion's home on North Carolina Street, Ms. Godwin said.

She also told the court Cox stated Brown was the shooter and his statement was supported by evidence. She stated Brown had blood on the right cuff of his jeans and the outer soul of his shoe.

"The blood was so obvious that Capt. Raecher immediately took custody of that clothing himself," Ms. Godwin told the court. "When did Chris Brown get the blood on his pant cuff? In the room. It's not pooling in the hallway, it's pooling in that room."

Co-counsel Mike Howell hammered the witnesses presented by the state.

"Their case is based on that poor, little, confused girl, the drug dealers and a women who can't tell the truth," Howell told the court. "I don't want to say liar, but (Miss Bedell) can't tell the truth."

Bailey testified Monday it was the man with the cornrows who held her and Miss Jones at gunpoint, ordered her in the closet and told Miss Jones to take her shirt off. Witnesses said earlier Cox had cornrows and Brown was bald at the time of the murders.

Howell added Brown used to wear his hair in cornrows.

"She confused Brown with Telly," Howell said. "She just got it wrong."

Next, Howell started in on Miss Bedell, who had a checkered past, Howell told the court.

"Bedell is out to save herself," Howell stated.

Howell told the court Miss Bedell lied to authorities during five different interviews.

He stated Miss Bedell drove Cox and Brown to a powder house at Toby Suggs Rentals on Ash Street Extension where they bought cocaine and Brown traded a .380 handgun for a sawed off shotgun. Miss Bedell drove the men back to Maynard's home and waited for them. After the murders, Miss Bedell drove the men around and was not forthcoming when investigators first approached her.

Miss Bedell testified earlier in the trial that Brown and Cox ordered her around at gunpoint after the shootings. Miss Bedell also stated she initially lied to authorities because the men were still at-large at the time and she feared for her and her family's safety.

Wayne County Assistant District Attorney Claud Ferguson told the jurors that his closing arguments might make them late for dinner and that he did not care -- as long as the right man goes to prison for the murders.

"If a man responsible for murdering two people in cold blood walks away free, I'll feel bad about it for the rest of my life," he told jurors.

Ferguson told the court that the law was simple. A person is considered guilty of acting in concert with another even if he didn't participate, but was present when the crime was committed.

Ferguson further stated the burden of proving Cox acted under duress falls on the shoulders of the defense.

Ferguson contended Miss Bedell lied to authorities, but added "even an incorrigible liar like Bedell told the truth about some things. A criminal will tell a lie in a heartbeat to get out of trouble."

Miss Bedell denied she was at Maynard's home on Garrick Lane on the day of the murders until Capt. Raecher bluffed her and told her license plate number was spotted at the house, Ferguson told the court.

Ferguson stated Miss Bedell only told the truth to authorities when she thought they knew something that she couldn't get out of.

Ferguson said Cox did the same thing.

He told jurors Cox gave a statement to authorities, but it was hours after the shootings and after he saw a news briefing about the murders on the 6 p.m. news Jan. 1.

Ferguson also stated Cox left out key details like going to the cocaine dealer or "powder house" with Brown.

He added that the state's witness, Jody Weisman, Davis' girlfriend, witnessed the transaction and stated Brown and Cox were in the bedroom when the matter of the sawed shotgun was discussed. Brown traded his weapon with George Davis at Toby Suggs Rentals on Ash Street Extension because he wanted to settle a score with another man, Ferguson told the court.

"George Davis traded a .380 for a shotgun and said 'Before you take it out of here wipe it down because I don't want nothing coming back to me,'" Ferguson told the court. "(Brown) got shotgun shells. He was wiping the shotguns shells down with rubbing alcohol. George Davis told Chris Brown 'If you do something crazy, I don't want that gun back.' Brown said 'Don't worry, I'll throw it in the river.'"

Ferguson stated the men were in a typical-sized bedroom and it was impossible for Cox not to hear what Brown was planning to do.

"I think when Bedell, Cox and Brown left out of there, they had some idea it was going to be used that night," Ferguson told the court. "For some reason, it looked like everybody in the room knows what's going on, but Telly Cox."

Ferguson said if Cox wanted to do the right thing he wouldn't have left key details out about going to George Davis' house in his statement.

"He never mentions Brown getting the gun there or wiping it down because, just like Bedell, he's going to tell you what he has to tell you, he's going to explain what he has to explain, he's going to leave out what he wants to leave out," Ferguson told the court.

Ferguson stated Brown was high on cocaine, but even he wouldn't venture to take on a house with two adults, even if one was crippled, by himself. If Brown wanted to steal the guns, he would need help.

Ferguson added Cox ended up with the "fruits" of the robbery. The stolen weapons were found in a car at his uncle's house.

Next, Ferguson spoke about Maynard's daughter's testimony.

Ferguson told the jury Bailey's information was limited because she was in the closet for most of the time when the men were in the house and could only hear what was going on.

Ferguson told the court Bailey might be mistaken about something, but when the first deputy arrived on the scene, Bailey got it right when she told him, "Two men came in and shot my daddy."