Free Lance-Star reporter Robyn Sidersky covers Caroline County government and schools. You can reach her at 540/374-5413 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow coverage on Facebook or Twitter as well.
Woman on trial for 1997 slaying
By PORTSIA SMITH
A Caroline County woman is on trial for killing her husband—nearly 14 years after his death.
Melissa Foxx spent her 41st birthday yesterday in Caroline Circuit Court facing charges of first-degree murder and using a firearm in the commission of a felony.
Foxx is accused of shooting 43-year-old Elliot L. “Benny” Foxx in the stomach during an altercation at their Ruther Glen home on May 25, 1997.
He was barely alive and lying in a pool of blood, according to Charles Bridges, the first deputy who arrived on the scene about 1:30 a.m. Benny Fox died en route to a Richmond hospital shortly after the shooting.
A jury of nine women and four men were selected to hear the case, which is scheduled to end today. One of those jurors is an alternate.
The 1997 incident was first reported as an accidental shooting, but Melissa Foxx was charged three years later, in April 2000, after telling deputies different versions of what happened.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Tony Spencer told the jury that the case had been continued several times during the past 10 years, but said he couldn’t tell them why.
Melissa Foxx has been out of jail during that time.
Spencer argued that Foxx’s version of what happened that day has changed several times.
“That will be the commonwealth’s case,” Spencer said during opening statements. “She lied, she lied, she lied.”
Through witness testimony, it was revealed that Foxx initially told deputies that she and her husband had gone to bed about midnight and that they were awakened by their dogs barking outside.
She said her husband grabbed his 12-gauge shotgun from under the bed and went to see what was going on when the gun somehow went off and he was shot.
Foxx later changed her story and told police that her husband, who had a 0.18 blood alcohol content and had ingested cocaine, was beating her with the stock (the handle) of the shotgun and it went off while she was pushing the gun away. She said he was upset that she didn’t have dinner waiting for him when he got home.
Spencer also pointed out in opening statements that a videotaped interview of Foxx in September 1998 showing police how the events of that night unfolded didn’t match up with other evidence in the case.
For example, he mentioned lack of gunshot residue on the victim’s hands and her depiction of him beating her with the gun was consistent with a right-handed person. Benny Foxx was left-handed, Spencer said.
Defense attorney Mark Murphy argued that it was dark and late that night and it may have been hard for her to remember exactly how he was swinging the gun while she was being hit with it.
“Try to envision what’s going on in a small room after midnight with a drunk man who beats his wife,” Murphy asked the jury. “She was 28 with two children in the other room. Are we really going to hold her accountable for what happened? Its not as simple as what somebody remembers in a split of a second.”
Two witnesses testified that they heard Melissa Foxx make statements about shooting her husband.
Doris Minor, who said she drove Benny Foxx home that night because he was too drunk to walk on his own, said she heard his wife fussing at him about being drunk and threatened to shoot him. About 30 minutes later, she said she heard sirens and ambulances going toward the Foxx house.
Julien “Frankie” Simms testified that after asking Melissa Foxx in 1998 what she would do if she caught him with another woman, she said, “I already got rid of one.”
Spencer called 10 witnesses yesterday and expects to call a few more before the defense presents its case today.
Day two of the trial starts at 9 a.m. this morning.