JOY LEE COX
ROGERSVILLE — A Mount Carmel woman who held police at bay for six hours with a loaded handgun in an apparent “suicide-by-cop” attempt was sentenced to three years Tuesday as part of a plea deal that eliminated most of her charges.
Following an Aug. 19 domestic assault on her sister, Joy Lee Cox, 55, 226 Oak St., Mount Carmel, allegedly emptied a nine-shot handgun over the course of several hours while screaming at police officers to kill her.
Cox was originally charged with two counts of attempted second-degree murder, seven counts of felony reckless endangerment, aggravated assault and possession of a handgun by an intoxicated person.
On Monday, the Hawkins County grand jury returned a greatly reduced number of charges against Cox, indicting her on one count each of aggravated assault on a police officer, felony reckless endangerment, domestic assault and possession of a handgun while under the influence.
She pleaded guilty on those charges Tuesday before Judge John Dugger in exchange for a three-year prison sentence with 30 percent release eligibility, as well as a $400 fine.
Assistant Attorney General Alex Pearson told the Times-News it would have been very difficult to prove Cox had the intent to commit murder.
“She was screaming for police officers to shoot her and stating that she would go to hell if she killed herself,” Pearson said. “The shots were apparently fired randomly in an attempt to get police to shoot her.”
On Aug. 19 shortly before 6 p.m., Cox’s sister Kathleen Maschke arrived at the Mount Carmel Police Department and reported that she had been assaulted after telling Cox that she now had power of attorney for their 78-year-old mother, Lena Smith.
MCPD Officer George Copas then went to 226 Oak St. to investigate the domestic assault complaint and was met in the driveway by Cox, who allegedly approached the cruiser, produced a nine-shot .22 caliber revolver and pointed it at Copas’ head.
According to an MCPD report filed by Lt. Kevin Ewing, Cox then told Copas, “Don’t get out of your car. I’m not going to jail.”
“Cox then placed the gun to her own head and walked into the residence,” Ewing stated in his report. “Seconds after she entered the residence Copas heard a gunshot. Copas and another female, Lena Smith, were in close proximity to where the gunshot was fired.”
Smith, who was sitting on the porch art that time, suffers from dementia. Copas moved Smith to safety and then called for assistance.
At one point during the six-hour standoff, the HCSO Tactical Team entered the residence and encountered Cox in a hallway. She reportedly held the gun to her head and screamed “shoot me.”
Cox fired the remaining eight shots in her revolver. The MCPD said two shots were intentionally fired through walls in the direction of police officers.
The other six shots were fired in random directions, including the ceiling and floor.
Shortly after midnight, after her gun was out of ammunition, Cox reportedly threw her gun down and was taken into custody by the tactical team.
Other indictments returned Monday by the Hawkins County grand jury included:
• Christy Darlene Chance, 55, 156 Midway Church Road, Mooresburg, for manufacturing marijuana and simple possession of marijuana.
• Andy Joshua Derrick, 36, 789 Mountain View Road, Rogersville, for DUI fifth offense and driving on a revoked license, third offense.
• Cheryl Ann Ellis, 33, 138 Guntown Road, Rogersvillle, for introduction of contraband into a penal institution.
• Sara Nichole Goins, 27, 175 Bert Price Road, Rogersville, for possession of Schedule II narcotics with intent to deliver.
• Patricia Ann Graham, 46, 1129 Birdwell St., Kingsport, for possession of Schedule II narcotics with intent to deliver and possession of Schedule IV narcotics with intent to deliver,
• William Earl Hall, 37, 409 Rogers Road, Rogersville, for two counts of theft over $1,000, and worthless checks.
• Marshall Shane Hopkins, 22, 6005 N. Church St., Rogersville, for statutory rape.
• Cody Lee Horner, 23, 126 Davis Drive, Rogersville, for introduction of contraband into a penal institution.
• Mark Stephen Klimczak, 50, 1601 Pondella Drive, Charlotte, N.C., for four counts of forgery.
• Annetra Jolene Mayes, 25, 246 Byington Road, Rogersville, for felony filing a false report.