Executions · Newspaper clippings · Utah

Man executed for killing five in a “wild orgy of death,” sticks out tongue in lieu of a final statement

June 19, 1944
Utah
Austin Cox is executed by firing squad for killing five people in a “wild orgy of death”

Cox had flown into a jealous rage upon hearing of his ex-wife’s new residence. (The couple had been married for only seven weeks and had recently divorced after she accused him of battery and threatening to cut out her tongue.)

Once Cox arrived at his ex-wife’s house, he shot 6 people, killing 4 and wounding 2. He then visited the home of the district judge who presided over Cox’s divorce. Cox shot one of the judge’s kitchen windows then, as the judge and his wife looked out their bedroom window to investigate the noise, Cox shot at the couple. The judge was hit in the head and neck, killing him.

Afterwards, Cox went to the local police station, firing two shots wildly, declaring “I will kill every son of a bitch in here” before being overpowered and arrested.

His defense attempted to use the insanity plea, which was unsuccessful. Before his execution, when asked if he had any final words, he simply shoved the sheriff with his elbows. As his death warrant was read, he stuck out his tongue.

A short comic was written about the murders in a story entitled “A Night of Horror” in Crime-Fighting Detective #14 (1951).

Other sources:

[Newspaper article describing Cox’s arraignment]

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