UPDATE: DA rules fatal shooting justified

October 22, 2010

A Colorado Springs man who killed his ex-wife after she shot her way into his apartment was justified in using deadly force to protect himself under the state’s so-called Make My Day law, the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office has ruled.

In a statement issued Friday, the DA said Cristen Ann Cox, 46, was shot by her ex-husband, Richard Lynn Cox, 43, just after 1 a.m. on Oct. 9 after Cristen Cox broke into her former husband’s apartment at the Windtree Apartment Homes near Academy Boulevard and Vickers Drive.

According to the DA’s findings, the following happened the night of the fatal shooting:

Cristen Cox entered the apartment after destroying the lock by firing four bullets into the door with a .44 caliber revolver. She fired another shot while in the living room before heading to the bedroom.

The shots awoke Richard Cox and his girlfriend. Richard Cox grabbed his shotgun and, without knowing who had broken in, fired at a silhouette once as the intruder entered the bedroom.

After turning on the lights, Richard Cox discovered that the intruder was his ex-wife and that he had killed her with the shotgun blast. He called 911 immediately.

The El Paso County coroner ruled that Cristen Cox died from a single shot to her torso.

The DA’s report stated that Richard Cox will not be prosecuted. The “Make My Day Law” states that “the citizens of Colorado have a right to expect absolute safety within their homes.” It protects people from criminal charges or a civil suit if they use deadly force when someone invades their home.

According to the report, Cristen and Richard Cox were divorced in June, but had been separated since October 2009.

Richard Cox was granted a permanent restraining order against Cristen Cox on Jan. 13 based on a series of threats. He claimed Cristen Cox had sent him threatening e-mails and court documents showed that a year before she was killed, Cristen Cox held an unloaded gun to Richard’s head and pulled the trigger.

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