Cox - Man guilty of attacking wife



From the Chicago Tribune--

Man guilty of attacking wife
Judge orders millionaire held

By Amanda Marrazzo
Special to the Tribune
Published April 12, 2007

A McHenry County millionaire was found guilty Wednesday of trying to
kill his wife 21/2 years ago, in an attack that prosecutors say was
fueled by jealousy and greed.

Billy J. Cox, 65, who built Exacto Inc. of far northwest suburban
Richmond into a successful agricultural business with a chemical he
created, was found guilty of one count of attempted murder for trying
to kill Carolyn Cox, 65, by carbon-monoxide poisoning in a Sept. 13,
2004, attack at the couple's Bull Valley mansion. He also was found
guilty of aggravated domestic abuse.

Carolyn Cox hugged her two children and started crying after the
verdict was read in a Woodstock courtroom. The six men and six women
on the jury deliberated for about 10 hours Tuesday and Wednesday after
a 17-day trial.

McHenry County Circuit Judge Joseph Condon agreed with prosecutors
that Billy Cox was a flight risk and ordered him into custody.
Sentencing is set for June 13, and he faces up to 60 years in prison.

Billy Cox was found not guilty of a second count of attempted murder
for bludgeoning his wife.

Juror Mike Musgrave, 41, of Algonquin said jurors voted separately on
the two counts because they were not convinced that Billy Cox intended
to kill his wife when he hit her with a blunt object, as prosecutors
alleged.

Musgrave said jurors believed Carolyn Cox's testimony -- that she was
hit at least once while sleeping, dragged to the garage where vehicles
were idling, crawled back into the house and was dragged back to the
garage by her husband, who locked the door -- and discounted the
defense's version: that she was injured falling off a ladder.

Billy Cox was tripped up several times by prosecutors, Musgrave said.

"We thought he was very poker-faced," Musgrave said.

The couple were scheduled to leave on a trip with friends to France
the day of the attack. Carolyn Cox, who was active in the Woodstock
Fine Arts Association and the Bull Valley Garden Club, told jurors
that her husband struck her at least three times.

Prosecutors said Billy Cox was jealous and stood to benefit from a
$1.5 million insurance policy on Carolyn's life. During the trial, the
couple's net worth was estimated at $15 million, including the
15,000-square-foot home on 11 acres on Bull Valley Road.

Carolyn Cox, who has four metal plates in her head and screws in her
jaw and lost vision and hearing because of the beating, said there
were many times in the last 21/2 years that she wondered why her
husband didn't just end their marriage.

"I was thinking he could just walk away, not spend the rest of his
life in prison," she said. Carolyn Cox said it was difficult to
testify about the attack in front of her husband but credited family
and friends with giving her strength.

"I thought you can go into a black hole or you don't go into that
black hole," she said. "I knew I couldn't do that.

"I need to be able to have a life now."

Billy Cox testified that he was on the couple's property all morning
and returned home about 12:45 p.m. to find his wife bleeding on the
garage floor, and Bull Valley Police Chief Norbert Sauers at the
house. Defense attorney Mark Gummerson refused to comment.

Ken Cox, who was accused by defense attorneys of fabricating the story
of an attack on his mother for his financial gain, said: "There were
so many lies, so much deceit in all of that."

Ken Cox said he had voting control at Exacto, which was given to him
by his parents in November 2001 in addition to other sources of
income. He said that at one time he and his father were close.

"[I couldn't understand] why it was so easy he turned on me," Ken Cox
said.

Carolyn Cox testified that her husband abused her at least six times
since they were married in 1961.

"I grew up in a rural area [in Missouri] where none of my family had
ever been divorced," Carolyn Cox said after the trial. "When you
married, it was a commitment. You stayed with it. I was trying to keep
my family together."

Carolyn Cox said she was living in a world of denial. "I would have
kept the abuse to myself until the day I died, and that is nearly what
happened to me," she said.

Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/southsouthwest/chi-0704110984apr12,1,3346989.story

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