B y the time David Neal Cox's life was put to an end last fall by the state of Mississippi, the man had become a rarity among death-row prisoners—a jailhouse advocate for his own execution. Some in that unusual tradition have had an agenda, such as Timothy McVeigh, who expected his 2001 death to become a symbol of federal brutality; others, including another Mississippian, Bobby Wilcher, who was killed in 2006, waived their appeals in a fit of pique or despair and then died trying to reinstate their pathways to survival. But not Cox. No ardent supporter of capital punishment could have found their passion for the practice better matched, or their reasoning for it better embodied, than in the 50-year-old man's rawboned frame. The state of Mississippi wanted Cox dead, and Cox did too. In the days leading up to his death, the family of Cox's victims—people who were once related to Cox himself—told reporters that Cox was evil ; that if he were ever free, he would kill again; and that his execution would bring closure to their beleaguered clan. Cox had earned their hatred. Around dusk on a May 2010 evening in the northern-Mississippi town of Sherman,… Read full this story
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