, Corbin, KY

Local News

April 22, 2014

William Cox gets 12 years for manslaughter, endangerment

CORBIN — By John L. Ross / Staff Writer

William “Bill” Cox’s 12-year sentence is now official.

Cox, 57, appeared with his defense attorney, David O. Smith, before Judge Paul Winchester in Whitley County Circuit Court Monday for his official sentencing hearing.

Cox was convicted in March of first-degree manslaughter under extreme emotional distress in the shooting death of 21-year-old Ryan Abner — the father of Cox’s grandson.

During that two-day trial he was also convicted of two separate counts of first-degree wanton endangerment.

Cox was arrested in August 2012 after detectives with the Corbin Police Department responded to a report of shots fired at a residence in the Forest Hills neighborhood.  

When detectives Rusty Hedrick and Bill Rose arrived at the Forest Circle Drive residence, Cox told detectives he had shot Abner, but was unsure whether he was alive or dead.

Cox also fired several shots from a 40-caliber Glock into Abner’s Chevrolet Equinox, in which Abner’s juvenile girlfriend, also Cox’s daughter, was seated with her and Abner’s child.

Whitley County Coroner Andy Croley pronounced Ryan Abner dead at the scene from three gunshot wounds at close range — two of those were in the head, and the third in Abner’s abdomen.

On Monday, Cox entered the courtroom without handcuffs wearing a blue Whitley County Detention Center inmate uniform labelled “trustee.”

Just prior to his appearance, Smith and Commonwealth’s Attorney Allen Trimble had a brief conference at the prosecution’s table. Once the hearing began, Trimble explained to the court that part of Cox’s sentence should include restitution — $6,650 in funeral expenses paid to Denver Abner to cover the cost of Ryan Abner’s burial expenses.

Smith requested Cox’s three sentences — 10 years for first-degree manslaughter and one year each for the two counts of first-degree wanton endangerment — be served concurrently.

Trimble requested Winchester go with the jury’s recommendation of consecutive sentences.

Winchester agreed, and sentenced Cox to the 12 years. After the hearing, Cox was remanded back into custody.


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