By C.V. Moore
A man accused of stomping to death a fellow inmate at Mount Olive Correctional Complex was found guilty of murder in the first degree by a Fayetteville jury Wednesday and sentenced to life without mercy.
This latest is one in a series of charges and convictions for violent crimes allegedly committed by Christopher D. Cox, originally of Spencer, Roane County.
The victim, Joseph B. Braddock Jr., died of blunt force injuries to the head, according to a medical examiner who gave testimony on the second day of a two-day trial that began Tuesday.
He said the man received at least 10 blows and was covered with patterned injuries suggesting he was stomped.
“James Braddock may have been an inmate at Mount Olive, but that doesn’t make his life any less valuable than anyone else’s,” Fayette County Prosecuting Attorney Carl Harris told the jury in his closing argument.
“He deserved the chance to complete his sentence and walk out. But he never got that chance because this defendant took his life. And he took it in one of the worst ways you can take someone’s life — by stomping him. You have to know James Braddock felt every one of those kicks to his head.”
On Sept. 24, 2011, both men were in the prison’s recreational area and entered into a conversation that ended when Braddock spit in Cox’s face.
According to testimony by correctional officers, Braddock was called to leave the area and turned to go when he was struck in the back of the head by Cox.
He fell to the ground and the assault continued as police sprayed pepper spray into the area and called on Cox to stop the beating. But only after Cox dragged the man by his feet and