When Raymond Cox was arrested in 2002 on his 17th birthday, he already had beaten three men - two of them to their deaths.
The first of those deaths occurred when Cox was 14.
Yesterday, the now 22-year-old Cox pleaded guilty to murder and felonious assault for the December, 1999, death of Theodore Goodacre and the severe beating of David Dusseau in July, 2002.
Cox is currently in prison for the 2002 death of Craig Coulter.
Cox yesterday appeared before Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Ruth Ann Franks to enter pleas in the two cases that for years remained unsolved.
He was indicted in November, 2007, after investigators with the county's cold-case unit linked him to Mr. Goodacre's murder with a bloody fingerprint found at the scene.
An additional charge of murder - for the May, 2001, death of Reginald Darnell - will be dismissed.
Cox told Judge Franks that he used his fists to "beat" Mr. Goodacre on top of the viaduct behind the McDonald's restaurant on Main Street in East Toledo.
About 2 1/2 years later, Cox used a lead pipe to hit Mr. Dusseau in the head twice in Mr. Dusseau's Raymer Street home, believing him to be someone else, he said.
"My cousin handed me the pipe and I hit him," Cox said.
"Where'd you hit him?" Judge Franks asked.
"In the head," he responded. "I dropped it, then my cousin picked it up and hit him a few more times and we ran."
Cox's cousin, Kevin Clapsaddle, 22, of 470 Parker Ave., has pleaded not guilty to felonious assault for his role in the beating of Mr. Dusseau. Judge Linda Jennings set a June 16 trial date.
County Assistant Prosecutor Jeff Lingo said both men were beaten severely and had multiple rib fractures and blunt-force injuries.
Mr. Goodacre, 53, who was described as a drifter from Tecumseh, Mich., also was strangled.
Yesterday, Cox said it was his cousin, Mr. Clapsaddle, who strangled Mr. Goodacre by stepping on his throat.
Mr. Lingo said yesterday that detectives are aware of the accusations and are continuing to investigate.
Mr. Lingo told Judge Franks that the second murder charge against Cox was being dismissed because of evidentiary reasons.
Cox, who lived at 227 Yondota St. when he was arrested in 2002, faces life in prison with the possibility of parole after 15 years for the murder conviction and up to eight years in prison for felonious assault.
Mr. Lingo said as part of the plea agreement, the prosecutor's office was recommending the sentence for the felonious assault conviction be no more than four years if it runs consecutive to the murder sentence.
If Judge Franks follows the recommendation as well as ordering that the sentences be consecutive to the sentence Cox currently is serving, he would be in prison for life with the first possibility for parole in 2030.
He will be sentenced May 30.
"What makes this case even more frightening than some other violent acts was that Raymond Cox was only 14 in the first incident and 16 in the second instance and felt very comfortable with beating one man to death and beating another man with a lead pipe and saw nothing wrong with it," Mr. Lingo said after the hearing.
"Prison would be a very appropriate place for Raymond Cox," he added.
Cox has been incarcerated since his arrest in 2002 for the death of Mr. Coulter, 41, of 623 1/2 Platt St. Cox is serving nine years in the Allen Correctional Institution in Lima, Ohio, after being convicted of involuntary manslaughter.
Mr. Coulter also was beaten to death, investigators said.
"He seems to have calmed down since then," Cox's attorney, Adrian Cimerman, said of his client's violent past. "As I understand it, he's not been a disciplinary problem in prison."
Mr. Cimerman pointed out that had Cox been charged with the crimes at the time they were committed when he was 14 years old, the proceeding may have taken place in the juvenile court system.
But a change in state law now says that juvenile court releases jurisdiction over a case, even if the crime was committed when the offender is a juvenile, if the charges are brought after a suspect reaches age 21.
Mr. Cimerman said that the plea agreement that included the dismissal of the second murder charge significantly reduces Cox's exposure to prison.
He potentially would have faced 38 years to life in prison had he been convicted on all charges.
Yesterday, both Cox's father and family members of Mr. Dusseau sat in court to hear Cox admit responsibility for the brutal beatings.
They declined comment after the proceeding.
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