Olympia man accused of offering cellmate money to kill witness

Staff writerSeptember 11, 2013 

Brian Cox, 44, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to his second charge of criminal solicitation for first-degree murder for allegedly offering the ex-cellmate money to kill the main witness in his other case. Cox was originally arrested by Tumwater police in June, for allegedly offering his former co-worker at the state Department of Financial Institutions $10,000 to kill his estranged wife.

PHOTO COURTESY OF THURSTON COUNTY THURSTON COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE

An Olympia man accused of offering a former co-worker $10,000 to murder his wife is now accused in a second murder-for-hire plot - this time for allegedly offering his former cellmate at the Thurston County Jail money to kill the coworker.

Brian Cox, 44, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to his second charge of criminal solicitation for first-degree murder for allegedly offering the ex-cellmate money to kill the main witness in his other case. Cox was originally arrested by Tumwater police in June, for allegedly offering his former co-worker at the state Department of Financial Institutions $10,000 to kill his estranged wife.

The ex-coworker came forward to his superiors at DFI in May, and told them that Cox had approached him in an elevator at DFI headquarters in Tumwater and said, "Guess what? I have a $250,000 life insurance policy on my wife, and I'm willing to give you half if you make her disappear," court papers state.

In early June, Cox's co-worker wore a body wire for Tumwater police that recorded another conversation between the pair. During the conversation, Cox said he had to reduce the amount he could pay because the life insurance policy on his wife was no longer valid, according to court papers.

"I still want the (expletive) dead and it's still worth ten grand to me because I'm going to be paying more than that in attorney's fees and to her," Cox said, according to court records. "I'm going to be paying another twenty grand in fees so, dude, were talking about murder here man."

Cox's attorney, Paul Strophy, said his client is innocent of the charge of trying to hire the former co-worker to kill his wife. Outside court Wednesday, Strophy said Cox also denies offering his former cellmate money to kill his former DFI co-worker.

Strophy said the ex-cellmate is making up a story, and that he first told the tale to prosecutors in an attempt to get some kind of "deal" in his own pending felony case that would result in him serving less jail time.

"I don't think this guy is believable or telling the truth," Strophy said. "I've seen this before in other cases."

But Thurston County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Craig Juris said Wednesday that Cox former cellmate never asked prosecutors for a "deal" in exchange for the information that Cox asked him to kill the witness.

"He never asked for one," Juris said of the allegation that the former cellmate wants a "deal" in his own pending felony case.

Without going into detail, Juris also said he has reason to believe the ex-cellmate is telling the truth, based on the substance of what he told investigators.

Juris would not disclose the amount Cox allegedly offered the former cellmate in exchange for murdering the witness, citing the need to keep certain evidence private before the case goes to trial.

Before Cox's arrest in June, he was in the mist of a contentious divorce with his wife of over four years. The pair had mutual restraining orders requiring each to stay away from one another. According to divorce paperwork originally filed in January, property at issue between the pair included Cox's 1959 Cessna airplane, a gun collection, a home in Boise, Idaho, five motorcycles and a timeshare.

The couple's disputes over property extended to seemingly trivial items such as a mattress in the couple's Olympia home, according to the divorce paperwork. Cox's wife also filed a sworn declaration stating that Cox had told her "she won't get anything out of him," and "that I will pay for defying him."

Cox was being held at the Thurston County Jail Wednesday, with bail set at $800,000.

 

 

Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445 jpawloski@theolympian.com

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