ST. CHARLES (KMOV.com) – Earl Cox pleaded guilty to killing and raping Angie Housman in 1993 and leaving her in the woods to die. The judge accepted his plea and sentenced him to life in prison.
During the hearing, the details of what happened to Angie were so gruesome that her aunt asked the court to sentence him to death, according to News 4 reporter Chris Nagus.
"I was hoping for the death penalty but as long as he spends the rest of his life in jail and not hurting another child that's the most important," Angie's aunt, Sandra Hill, said. "I don't want another family to go through what we had to go through."
St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney Tim Lohmar talked after the sentencing about giving the family justice.
"Today culminates 27 years of anguish, pain and hard work from countless numbers of other people. I’m proud today that we were able to collectively as a team to close this matter, give the victim’s family some sense of closure and justice," Lohmar said.
Lohmar said he believes Cox deserves the death penalty, however to make that possible they would have had to go to trial.
"He deserves a worse fate than what he gave Angie," Lohar said. "The community deserved to know what happened from the mouth of the man who did it and that was the only way we were going to [get that] was to accept his plea and recommend life in prison without parole."
Cox was accused of kidnapping the 9-year-old after she got off the school bus in St. Ann. After the kidnapping, Cox admitted he took Angie to his home in Wentzville where he sexually assaulted and tortured her. He then took her to a secluded area in the August A. Busch Wildlife area off Highway 94 in St. Charles County, where he left her tied to a tree to die.
Her body was found by a deer hunter on November 27, 1993, nine days after her abduction. An autopsy performed a day after her body was discovered indicated she died of hypothermia.
According to investigators at the time, the 9-year-old had only been dead for a few hours when she was found.
Cox was not considered a suspect during the initial investigation.
In early 2019, a St. Charles County forensic scientist analyzed pieces of clothing found at the 1993 scene to look for DNA samples. In late February of 2019, detectives were notified DNA came back from two people: Cox and Angie. Cox was initially identified through an online DNA database and was retested with his consent, the probable cause statement said. For the portion consistent with Cox's DNA, only one in 58.1 trillion unrelated individuals, selected at random, could be expected to have that same profile.
Cox was initially charged with murder, kidnapping and sodomy in the case. In October of 2019, a grand jury came down with an indictment that omitted the kidnapping charge that was initially filed by prosecutors.
In November, Cox's lawyer entered a not guilty plea on his behalf. Cox also waived his formal arraignment.
Lohmar previously told News 4 his office was looking into the possibility that Cox did not act alone. However, on Thursday Lohmar said the evidence tells him that Cox acted alone but he still has questions he wants answered.
"I think there’s more information out there that he has. I want to find out details about the length of time he kept Angie confined. I want to find out more about the extent in which he tortured her. Whether anyone else knew about this over the years," Lohmar said.
When given a chance to make a statement to Housman's family, Cox said nothing.