09/24/06 — Cox gets life for couple's murders

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Cox gets life for couple's murders

By Lee Williams
Published in News on September 24, 2006 2:07 AM

A jury of nine women and three men decided Friday that 24-year-old Telly T. Cox of LaGrange will spend the rest of his life in prison for the murders of Michael Shawn Maynard and Christie Nicole Jones.

Cox faced two counts of first-degree murder and kidnapping and one count of attempted first-degree rape and armed robbery. The kidnapping charge was thrown out during the trial at the request of Cox's attorneys.

The jurors deliberated over the fate of Cox for nearly six hours before finding Cox guilty on all counts.

Cox and his accomplice, Chris Brown, were accused of murdering the Goldsboro couple in Maynard's home on Garrick Lane New Year's Day in 2004. The men allegedly committed the murders after placing Maynard's then 7-year-old daughter, Bailey, in the closet.

After the murders, Cox and Brown allegedly stole a crossbow, two .22-caliber rifles and a box of shotgun shells from Maynard's home. The weapons later were recovered in a car parked outside of Cox's uncle's home on Greg Drive.

Brown, 22, pleaded guilty to the murders Jan. 19 and is serving two consecutive life sentences in prison. Brown's girlfriend, Alonza Bedell, 22, also pleaded guilty to two counts of accessory after the fact and is awaiting sentencing. But Cox was the final hold out.

A plea deal was offered to Cox that would have sent him to prison for about 40 to 50 years, but he refused to take the plea, officials said.

Cox maintained Brown forced him to participate in the murders at gunpoint, but the jurors decided Cox did not participate out of coercion, but acted in concert with Brown.

Before the verdict was read, family members of the slain couple interlocked hands and bowed their heads in prayer. When the word "guilty" was announced, tears began to flow from their eyes.

At the same time, Cox's 21-year-old sister, Christie Kornegay, stood up, stomped her foot, flung her left fist out in protest and ran out of the courtroom in tears. She returned a short while later.

Cox's mother carried her Bible to trial each day and held a prayer session for Cox outside the courthouse before the verdict was read.

Overcome with emotion, Cox's mother had to be held up to keep from losing her balance as she heard the verdict. Cox, however, showed no emotion when the verdict was read.

Wayne County Sheriff Carey Winders, deputies and investigators filled the aisles to keep peace in the court while Superior Court Judge Russell Lanier Jr. handed down his sentence. Lanier told Cox to stand.

Cox, who wore a blue short-sleeved shirt, khakis and cream-colored dress shoes, folded his arms and stared at the judge as he spoke.

"I don't lecture people because that's not my job," Lanier told Cox.

Lanier told Cox that he rolled the dice with his life and added "people who give you advice don't have to serve a day of your time."

Lanier told Cox he had been found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder.

"You will be confined to prison for your natural life," the judge said. "Cox, good luck to you."

With those words, Lanier told the deputies to take custody of their prisoner. Sheriff Winders told Cox to place his hands behind his back while he placed handcuffs around his wrists. Cox blew air into his cheeks, but didn't utter a word. Winders, escorted by other deputies, led Cox out of the courtroom.

Family members of the victims grabbed Wayne County Assistant District Attorney Claud Ferguson around the neck and hugged him. They thanked him for a job well done. Assistant District Attorney Jan Kroboth assisted in the case and participated during much of the trial, but had to leave during the trial Monday when her mother fell gravely ill.

Tears flowed from Marsha Maynard's eyes as she cradled a picture of her son, Shawn, who had dark hair and a handsome smile. Mrs. Maynard expressed gratitude the ordeal was over.

Miss Jones' sister, Tracy Mortimer, 26, drove to North Carolina from Pennsylvania with her two small children to attend the two-week trial. She stated she also was glad the trial was over.

"It's time for our families -- the Maynards and the Joneses family to have some closure," Ms. Mortimer said.

The end of the trial was not only a time for tears, but a time to celebrate a victory for the victims whose lives were cut down in the prime of their lives, the families said.

Judy Wallace, Miss Jones' mother, pulled out a picture of her daughter, Christie, who was wearing dark shades, a long hippie skirt and a flower in her hair. Miss Jones smiled while she held up a peace sign in the photo.

"She had a kind soul and a fighting spirit," beamed Ms. Wallace of Raleigh. Her daughter is certainly missed, she said.

The trial ended just eight days before Miss Jones' birthday. She would have turned 28 that day had she lived, her aunt, Vickie Jones Best said.

Not everyone was satisfied with the verdict.

Ms. Kornegay, Cox's only sister, stated the trial might be over, but her family has not lost hope. They refuse to give up on Cox, whom some knew as Smurf, she said.

"It ain't over," Kornegay said. "He'll be home soon because God's got the final say so -- not man."

She said her brother planned to appeal his conviction.

Cox's defense attorneys Rosemary Godwin of Raleigh and Mike Howell of Durham were hoping for a different outcome, but Howell said the judge gave them "a very fair trial."

Sheriff Winders said he was the one who found Cox and the old Saab bearing the stolen weapons that was parked outside of Cox's uncle's home on Greg Drive. Winders added he is satisfied with the verdict.

"Justice was served," he said while the courtroom emptied out about 5 p.m. Friday.

Detective Sgt. Carl Lancaster was the lead investigator on the case. Winders said he was proud of his department for the countless hours they spent working on the case. Winders said they solved the case in less than 24 hours.

He thanked the Goldsboro Police Department and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations for their help on the case.

"This was a team effort when this happened in January 2004," Winders said. "There were a lot of manhours spent on the case. Hopefully, it will provide closure to the families and they can move on with their lives."

Winders said in a case like this both the families of the victims and the accused suffer.

"Not only were two lives taken," Winders said. "Because of their actions, they have jeopardized their future and hurt their families."