ARIZONA NEWS

Tempe man sentenced to life in prison for murdering girlfriend

Apr 19, 2024, 3:07 PM | Updated: 3:50 pm

Repeat killer sentenced to life in prison after murdering girlfriend...

A repeat killer who murdered his girlfriend in Tempe last year was sentenced to life in prison on Friday, authorities said. (Facebook File Photo/Maricopa County Superior Court)

(Facebook File Photo/Maricopa County Superior Court)

PHOENIX — A repeat killer who murdered his girlfriend in Tempe years ago was sentenced to life in prison on Friday, authorities said.

Gary Lennall Cox, 60, killed her in a Tempe hotel on Aug. 7, 2020, according to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.

The medical examiner’s office found various injuries on the victim’s body, including extensive bleeding in all regions of her brain, bruises on her chest and neck and around 20 rib fractures, MCAO said.

Prosecutors also said police found empty bleach bottles on the scene, along with blood stains on the sink, tub and towels, which implied Cox tried to clean the crime scene.

The brutal murder was Cox’s second time killing an intimate partner, prosecutors said. He killed his wife in 2001, MCAO said.

Cox murdered his girlfriend less than four months after being released from prison after serving time for his wife’s murder, prosecutors said.

Actions of repeat killer “the essence of evil,” MCAO says

Cox was convicted of first-degree murder, kidnapping and tampering with physical evidence on Feb. 13, 2024, MCAO said.

His official sentencing on Friday gave him a natural life sentence in prison for first-degree murder, along with these punishments:

  • 28 years for kidnapping
  • 4.5 years for tampering with physical evidence
  • 3.5 years for possession or use of a narcotic drug from a separate criminal case

Prior to the murder, Cox abused his girlfriend, MCAO said. He gave her a black eye, isolated her in her motel room and didn’t let her talk to neighbors, prosecutors said.

MCAO urged the public to report abuse to the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.

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Tempe man sentenced to life in prison for murdering girlfriend