From James’ appeal: The victim, Nicholas Cox, on leave from the United States Navy, had returned to his home in Bossier City, Louisiana, during the month of November 2001. While at home, he visited with family and friends. Cox was scheduled to return to duty in Virginia on Monday, November 26, 2001.
On Saturday, November 24, 2001, the victim left Bossier City on his way to Virginia to return to military duty. Before beginning his trip to Virginia, Cox stopped to see defendant, a friend of his, who resided with his sister Tameka in Shreveport, Louisiana. Cox and defendant left in Cox’s 1996 white Ford Crown Victoria to get something to eat from the corner store. Defendant was armed with a .32 black automatic pistol “for protection.” The gun belonged to defendant’s friend Jeremy Gray. Cox and defendant left the store, with defendant driving because Cox was eating. There was no evidence of an argument or bad blood between the two friends on that date.
During the afternoon of November 24, 2001, Nicholas Cox received a fatal gunshot wound to the head while inside his Crown Victoria. There were no witnesses to the shooting, and the weapon was not recovered. Defendant admitted to shooting Cox with the .32 automatic that defendant had in his possession. Defendant, however, claimed that the shooting was accidental. According to defendant, while driving, he took the gun out of his pants. Cox saw the gun and asked defendant whether the weapon was loud when it was fired. Defendant rolled his window down, put his left arm out the window and fired the gun, which then jammed. Defendant stated that he attempted to clear the jam with his left hand on the handle and trigger and his right hand on top of the gun. Defendant stated that he was still driving while trying to clear the jam in the handgun and the weapon fired just as Cox was leaning forward to put his trash onto the passenger floorboard. The bullet struck Cox in the head. Defendant put Cox’s body in the trunk of the car and drove around for approximately two hours, stopping at the homes of two friends and his own residence before driving to Greenwood where he buried Cox’s body in a wooded area.
On November 27, 2001, the parents of Nicholas Cox filed a missing persons report with the Bossier City Police Department, because they had not heard from their son since he left to return to active duty on November 24, 2001. On November 27, Cox’s mother, Verandia Sanders, received a call from an employee of Sarpy Medical Clinic, who informed her that her 1996 Ford Crown Victoria was sitting in their parking lot on Jewella Avenue in Shreveport.1 Mrs. Sanders called the Shreveport Police Department to inform them of the location of the car.
SPD officers went to the lot in which the car had been abandoned. The officers observed large amounts of bloodstains inside the car and later found bloodstains in the trunk of the vehicle, along with some of Nicholas Cox’s personal items. Their investigation led them to the residence of Tameka James, with whom defendant lived. After a search of Ms. James’ home, authorities found a pair of blood-spattered, tan Timberland boots belonging to defendant. The police sought to question defendant regarding the victim’s disappearance, having determined that defendant was the last person to see Nicholas Cox. They learned, however, that defendant had hopped a Greyhound bus to San Diego, California, on the same day that the victim’s car had been found abandoned in the medical clinic’s parking lot.
Thereafter, two telephone conversations between defendant and his sister Tameka were recorded. In the first conversation on November 30, 2001, defendant gave a general description as to how to find the body of Nicholas Cox, but authorities were unable to locate the body going by those directions. In the second call on December 5, 2001, defendant gave more specific details on the location of Cox’s body. Defendant never stated during either of the two recorded conversations that he had shot Nicholas Cox. Instead, defendant related that someone told him where Cox’s body could be found. After the December 5 telephone call, police were able to locate the body of the victim, which was buried underneath brush and wood in a well-hidden area off of Shirley Frances Road in Greenwood, Louisiana.
After recovering the body, detectives from the SPD went to San Diego to arrest defendant for the murder of Nicholas Cox. While in California, defendant gave three videotaped versions of how Cox was killed. First, defendant stated that an unknown black male came up to the driver’s side window of Cox’s car and asked the victim whether he was Nicholas Cox. When Cox answered affirmatively, the man shot Cox in the head. Defendant claimed that he then moved Cox’s body to the passenger seat and began driving the victim’s vehicle. When authorities expressed their disbelief, defendant then stated that while Cox was playing around with the gun, he shot himself in the head. Finally, defendant gave the version of events that he related at trial. In this third and final account, defendant stated that the shooting was an accident. According to defendant, while he was trying to clear a jam in the gun, it fired, striking Cox in the head.
Nicholas A. Cox (Nick)
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Offender Name: JAMES, ALAN B
Custody Status: In Custody
Location: Louisiana State Penitentiary
Race: African American
Contact Facility: Louisiana Department of Corrections