Bull Valley millionaire Billy J. Cox, convicted of trying to kill his wife in 2007, out on parole – Northwest Herald


Billy J. Cox, inset, was released Friday, Feb. 25, 2022, from the Dixon Correctional Center. Cox served the required 85% of his 20-year sentence. (Shaw Local file/Inset provided by Illinois Department of Corrections)
A Bull Valley millionaire, sentenced to 20 years in 2007 for the attempted murder of his wife of nearly 43 years, has been released from the Dixon Correctional Facility and is on parole, according to prison records.
Billy J. Cox, 80, was found guilty after a 17-day jury trial of the attempted murder and aggravated domestic battery of his wife, then Carolyn Cox. He was released from prison on Feb. 25, according to a VINE alert system sent from the Illinois Department of Corrections.
He served the required 85% of his 20-year sentence. Cox’s exact whereabouts were unclear and attempts to reach a former attorney for this story were unsuccessful.
At the time of the attack against his wife, the couple was living what, by all accounts, appeared to be a happy, lavish country club lifestyle. The couple had a net worth of about $15 million, lived in a 15,000-square-foot mansion on a beautiful, 11-acre wooded lot nestled along Bull Valley Road, according to court testimony. They had successful grown children and grandchildren, living off the wealth they created by building their company, Exacto Inc.
The company, at the time located in Richmond but today is in Sharon, Wisconsin, was founded on an agricultural chemical Billy Cox invented.
On the morning of Sept. 13, 2004, they were supposed to be leaving for a much-anticipated trip with friends to Paris, Carolyn Cox testified. Suitcases were packed the night before and a car was scheduled to pick them up later that morning.
Instead, that morning began when she was awoken by her husband striking her in the head with a blunt object and dragging her, bloodied and confused, on a blanket down a hallway to their garage, according to trial testimony.
In the garage where the doors had all been closed and the power disconnected, two vehicles were idling. She recalled he put her body into the back of a Mercedes SUV then disappeared back into the house, shutting the door behind him.
Dennis Mahoney and Carolyn R. (Cox) Mahoney pose for a picture together. Carolyn Mahoney, a former Bull Valley resident who raised awareness of domestic violence, died July 29, 2019. Her ex-husband, Billy Cox, who was convicted of attempting to murder her, was released on Friday, Feb. 25, 2022. (Photo provided)
She testified that she somehow managed to drag herself out of the SUV and back into the house where he hit her again, with an unknown blunt object, and put her back into the SUV. She then tried again to go back inside, but the door was now locked. He appeared again and put her body under an exhaust pipe of a truck idling inside the garage and left her to die, she testified.
She was rescued because family members had been trying to reach the couple by phone that morning, knowing they should still have been home preparing for their trip.
Police were called and Bull Valley Police Chief Norbert Sauers went to the home. He testified that he saw liquid coming from under the garage door and heard the vehicles idling. He knocked on the front door and no one answered, so he entered the home through an open window, saw a blood trail to the garage, opened the door and found Carolyn nearly lifeless.
He opened all the garage doors and took her into fresh air, he testified. Billy Cox then appeared from the house and asked what had happened to his wife.
Billy Cox testified that he had been out on the back property cleaning up brush and bird watching. He claimed that his wife fell off of a ladder causing her injuries and that his son, Ken Cox, fabricated the story she told in court as a means of taking control of Exacto Inc.
Carolyn R. (Cox) Mahoney in an undated family photo. Her ex-husband, Billy Cox, who was convicted of attempting to murder her, was released on Friday, Feb. 25, 2022. She died in 2019. (Photo provided)
But Ken Cox said his parents already had given him voting control at the company years earlier and he had other sources of income.
Prosecutors described Billy Cox as jealous and said he stood to gain a $1.5 million life insurance policy upon his wife’s death.
Carolyn Cox divorced Billy Cox in 2008. She later re-married and changed her name to Carolyn Mahoney.
She suffered major head and facial injuries from the attack and underwent several surgeries, had four metal plates put in her head and screws in her jaw, and lost some vision and hearing because of the beating, according to trial testimony.
During sentencing, Carolyn Cox tearfully read a seven-page letter describing how she met Billy Cox in Missouri when he came to work on her father’s farm. She said she was just 16 when they met. She married him three years later in 1961.
In 2011, from prison, Billy Cox allegedly tried to hire a hitman to kill his now ex-wife, according to a civil complaint filed in McHenry County. Cox never was charged in connection with the allegations, and the lawsuit was dismissed in 2012, according to court filings.
Carolyn Mahoney later traveled the country and spoke out against domestic abuse. She taught that domestic violence knows no socioeconomic status and that it affects everyone no matter if they are rich or poor.
Carolyn Mahoney died in 2019. Her husband Dennis Mahoney died Feb. 23, two days before Billy Cox was released from prison.
Copyright © 2021 Shaw Local News Network
Copyright © 2021 Shaw Local News Network

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