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Despite prosecutor’s plea, defendant gets less than two years in pot case

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A former Fredericksburg city worker who possessed four marijuana plants was sentenced to a year and 10 months in prison.

That sentence was given despite arguments by a special prosecutor that Louis Philip Cox IV was “the most dangerous person” ever to appear in a city courtroom.

The prosecutor, Caroline County Commonwealth’s Attorney Tony Spencer, asked Judge Gordon Willis to sentence Cox to 30 years.

Spencer even compared Cox, who managed the city’s parking garage, to terrorist Timothy McVeigh, who blew up the Oklahoma City federal building, killing 168 people. McVeigh was executed for his crime.

Cox, 29, was sentenced on a manufacturing marijuana conviction to 10 years in prison with all but a year and 10 months suspended.

“You have the opportunity to protect the public from a possible Timothy McVeigh,” said Spencer. “Do we have to wait for him to actually blow up something?”

The marijuana charge against Cox stems from a small grow operation police found last June at his home on Devonshire Drive. Four marijuana plants that had not matured were found hidden in a closet.

Police were tipped off to the operation by Jason Robbins, who worked under Cox at the parking garage at the time.

Police also found numerous images of child pornography on Cox’s computer. He is charged with dozens of child pornography-related offenses and has a trial set for Aug. 8.

Thursday’s four-hour sentencing hearing featured little testimony regarding Cox’s marijuana charge. Instead, Spencer focused on Cox’s criminal history, including numerous alleged offenses for which he was never charged.

Spencer called witnesses who testified to repeated crimes they say they saw Cox commit, including shoplifting, burglaries, thefts, phone threats, vandalism and hacking into his neighbor’s computer. He was also accused of slashing customers’ tires at the parking garage, dropping a wine bottle in front of a couple from the top of the Executive Plaza building downtown and placing incendiary devices under someone’s car.

The most damning allegations came from Robbins, who claimed that during the four months before his arrest, Cox went onto Arabic websites devoted to making bombs and talked about plans to bomb the city police station. He also said Cox talked about getting a sniper rifle and calling 911 so he could ambush an unsuspecting police officer.

He also quoted Cox as saying that McVeigh “had it right.”

Defense attorney Jim Ilijevich questioned how Robbins could have known about such sinister plans yet said nothing at the time. Robbins said, “I had no choice. He was my boss. I needed a job, and I needed to pay my bills.”

Spencer argued that it was time for Cox to pay for his misdeeds, suggesting that he’d gotten off easy before because he knew people in high places, including his uncle, a former city judge.

Ilijevich said that while Cox had done some “stupid” things over the years, no bomb materials were found in his home and there was no evidence that he’d ever tried to retaliate against people who have arrested and prosecuted him before.

Cox made a brief statement in which he apologized for growing marijuana “in this state” and said he wouldn’t have sold it because to do so “would be detrimental to the fight for legalization.”

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404

kepps@freelancestar.com

 

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