It's the end of an era in Hamilton County's halls of justice, as the man who heads the district attorney's office heads into retirement.
Hamilton County D-A Bill Cox, who opted not to run for re-election, was honored at a retirement party this afternoon. Present were attorneys, mayors, and police officers, deputies, highway patrol troopers, and other members of law enforcement who had brought cases to him to be prosecuted.
Cox was praised as being a district attorney who set a high standard for bringing the accused to justice.
Cox joined the Hamilton County District Attorney's office as a prosecutor in 1981, and has spent the past 18 years, as its chief prosecutor. As we found out, his memories of the office, are not fond ones.
In more than 30 years, Bill Cox has prosecuted many heinous crimes.. more than 10 death penalty cases, including this one, the state versus Marlon Kiser, accused of shooting Hamilton County deputy Donald Bond to death.
As he looks back on his career of convictions, he says although there was satisfaction, there was never a good feeling.
"There are always two tragedies both going on at the same time," he says during his last media interview in his now-vacant office. "One mother has lost someone, and the other mother is losing someone to the penitentiary, so it's never a happy time."
CLICK HERE to view the raw, uncut interview with Cox
In a poignant moment, Cox reveals the most troubling cases he's had to prosecute.. crimes against the elderly, crimes involving domestic abuse.. and particularly.. crimes against children. "Those people who are the most vulnerable, that are victims of crime.. all cases get to you, but those particularly get to you."
Another accomplishment he points out, involves unsolved crimes. Cox says, help is on the way for people waiting for justice to come in cold cases.. both the DA's office and local law enforcement will have a unit that works on nothing but unsolved crimes. "No mother's child is less valuable or, no husband or wife is less valuable than any other, to those persons or those families."
And the advice he gives to his successor, new Hamilton County District Attorney Neal Pinkston and his staff?
"Have something in your life that brings you pleaseure outside of the D-A's office," he says, "whether that be family, whether that be friends."
"You have to able to turn loose."
Neal Pinkston will be sworn into office on August 29th, and so will the assistant D-A's. The ceremony will be in Hamilton County Judge Don Poole's courtroom.
By Calvin Sneed