11/25/2014

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Convicted murderer's release worries family, police

Convicted murderer's release worries family, police

Scott William Cox, a man convicted in 1993 of two Portland murders, was released from confinement on Friday.

His departure from prison caused a ripple of trepidation among family members of one of his victims and a police chief.

Cox was sentenced to 25 years in prison for the two women’s killings, with time off for good behavior. He was transferred to the Yamhill County Jail to live in subsidized housing.

The Newberg truck driver was a person of interest in the 1990s of about 15 murders throughout the western United States – something that concerns Joyce Jenkins, the sister of murder victim Victoria Rhone.

She’s worried Cox is going to hurt someone else.

“I think he’s become such a threat,” Jenkins said. “A lot of times they’ll say 'I found God.' Where did you find him? I didn’t know he was gone. All this he’s done now – he could have done that before he killed two people.”

While he’s staying in subsidized housing, Cox will be able to leave at 8 in the morning and not check in until 8 at night. He will be monitored throughout the day through a GPS-tracking system.

Jenkins isn’t the only person concerned about Cox’s release.

Cornelius Interim Police Chief Ken Summers, who was the lead investigator on Cox’s case, said the fact that Cox was person of interest in a number of other killings raises public safety concerns.

“I’d like to think people can change in law enforcement. We can’t afford to take that chance,” Summers said. “We’re very concerned he’s out again.”

At the time Cox was sentenced, other law enforcement agencies were pursuing murder investigations in hopes they could charge Cox before he was released. That didn’t happen because of a lack of concrete evidence.

A year after Cox’s convictions, voters approved Measure 11, which gives mandatory sentences for violent crimes without the possibility of judges reducing the punishment.

Had Cox been convicted under Measure 11, he would have faced 50 years in prison.

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