Oregon trucker who killed women now free in McMinnville
UPDATEd, Saturday, Feb. 23:
Friday afternoon, Scott William Cox was released to the Yamhill County Jail; Saturday morning he woke up as a free man for the first time in 20 years. Since he has no home, no job and no family in the area, he remains at the county jail from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. each night. During the day he is free, but monitored.
Cox wears a GPS device allowing law enforcement to monitor his whereabouts. Saturday, he walked throughout downtown McMinnville and north along Baker Street, twice walking along the edges of areas he cannot enter such as City Park.
Cox was released to Yamhill County because he lived in Newberg when convicted. He is out of prison five years early, must remain on probation for life, and still is considered dangerous by some law enforcement officials.
[News-Register subscribers click here to read local story with reactions from Yamhill County officials.]
By STEVEN DUBOIS
Of Associated Press
PORTLAND — An Oregon man who was convicted of two murders in the 1990s and is a person of interest in other killings is set to be released from prison in two weeks.
Scott William Cox, 49, will return to Yamhill County for post-prison supervision after his Feb. 22 release, the Department of Corrections said Thursday afternoon.
The long-haul truck driver pleaded no contest in 1993 to two counts of murder. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison but is leaving early because of good behavior and credit for time served in a county jail before his conviction, agency spokeswoman Liz Craig said.
Cox was convicted before the state passed tougher sentencing laws.
He was charged with fatally stabbing 34-year-old Reena Ann Brunson outside a northeast Portland grocery store in November 1990 and strangling 32-year-old Victoria Rhone at a Portland rail yard in February 1991. Both women were prostitutes.
Reena Brunson's mother told KPTV she he had not been told of Cox's impending release and declined further comment. There was no answer at her phone number Thursday afternoon.
At the time of his arrest, police agencies in cities along his routes examined the unsolved deaths of young women who frequented truck stops. The trucker had been in cities where 20 similar crimes occurred.
“There's a lot more than just that 20, but those look like the ones that we can do something with,” Newberg, Ore., police Detective Ken Summers told The Associated Press in 1992.
Police in Mountlake Terrace, Wash., told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in 2003 that they considered Cox the only suspect in the 1990 slaying of a young woman.
Cox was never charged with any additional crimes.
Yamhill County sheriff's Capt. Tim Svenson said advances in DNA testing might help investigators connect Cox to unsolved cold cases. He said local detectives have already been in contact with law enforcement agencies in California, alerting them that Cox is getting out.
Before his arrest, Cox was living in a Newberg motel when not on the road. He will be returned to that county for his post-prison supervision.
Because Cox has no job or place to go, he will initially be housed in a barracks-type setting at the jail. Cox will be able to leave in the morning but must return at a certain time each night, and he's forbidden from crossing the county line.
“He will be a free man,” Svenson said. “But not as free as a regular citizen.”