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No bond in acid killing case

By Walter Geiger A man who allegedly shot and killed another while both were under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs was denied bond at a pre-trial hearing in Lamar County magistrate court Aug. 19. A polite, remorseful Joshua James Cox, 24, appeared before chief magistrate Karen Jackson at a bond hearing although state statute precludes her from setting bond in a murder case. He is charged with felony murder and possession of a firearm during commission of a felony. Cox was bound over to superior court and faces life in prison if convicted. He is charged in connection with the July 14 shooting of Donald Terrell Clark, 40, who was found dead of two gunshot wounds in the driveway of his home at 939 Chappell Mill Road. After denying bond, Judge Jackson asked, ‘You appear to be a much different person than the vicious one who committed this crime. What is the difference.’ Cox replied, ‘I am not under the influence of anything.’ Cox told the judge he and Clark were using acid. ‘We smoked a blunt of marijuana and started tripping again and that’s when this happened,’ Cox said. Judge Jackson engaged in a lengthy conversation with Cox and he was remarkably forthcoming. After the shooting, Cox allegedly returned to the home of his parents and attacked his mother, a law enforcement officer. His father, also an officer, was able to subdue and handcuff him and he was taken to the Butts County jail. When Clark’s body was found, he was tied to the crime from a 911 call he had made after the shooting. ‘I know who your parents are and I know they did not raise you like this,’ Judge Jackson said. Cox agreed and said he was trying to rebuild his relationship with his parents and young child. ‘It was tough at first but, after a lot of prayer, they are coming around,’ he said. ’Where did you go wrong,’ Judge Jackson continued. ’I was 14 when I started using drugs and hanging out with the wrong crowd. This was the first time acid affected me like that. I’ve been through rehab twice but I strayed away from God. My dad always told me if you hang out with trash you are going to be trash. That is what happened to me. I am upset with myself for using acid. I regret the things I have done but the Lord is with me,’ Cox said. Judge Jackson noted she had a courtroom full of children from the CHAMPS camp in her courtroom recently and one asked her what was the worst crime one could commit. She answered ‘˜murder’. ’I suggest 15 years ago you were like those innocent kids. Every single life holds value. That applied to Mr. Clark and it applies to you,’ the judge said. Cox laid his trouble at the feet of drug use, detailing a life of close calls with overdoses and car crashes. ‘I’ve been through a lot,’ he said. ’I want you to reflect on all the choices you made that led to this crime. What could you have done differently? Drugs have absolutely wrecked your life. I see it all the time in this court and the criminal histories I see – people with 20-30 years of drug arrests. One life has been lost but your life can be saved,’ she admonished Cox. Cox thanked the judge for giving him the opportunity to speak and listening to him. ’˜I am sorry for the way things happened,’ he concluded before being led back to his cell in chains.

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