Somervell County Deputy Accepts Plea Agreement After Shooting Ellis County Church

WAXAHACHIE — Former Somervell County Sheriff’s Deputy William Lane Cox, who drunkenly shot at an Ellis County church, pleaded to the charge of deadly conduct on Monday morning.

By accepting the plea-bargain agreement, Cox was sentenced to five years in prison, which was suspended. He was then placed on community supervision.

Cox remain on probation for five years. He was also fined $1,500 and will have to serve 10 days in the Wayne McCollum Detention Center. Through the agreement, Cox will be allowed to serve his time on weekends.

According to a Daily Light article from Aug. 30, 2016, at approximately 6:55 a.m. on July 13, Ovilla Police and Ellis County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the Shiloh Cumberland Presbyterian Church, located at 7810 Shiloh Road off of Farm-to-Market Road 664. Officers responded to a call of “gunshots fired,” according to an Ellis County Sheriff’s Department arrest affidavit.

In the affidavit submitted for probable cause determination, Ellis County Sheriff’s Deputy Christopher Hilliard stated Cox gave consent to search his vehicle. Hilliard found a .38 caliber revolver and Cox’s identification. A Glock handgun, as well as Cox’s truck keys, were laying on the grass near him. Numerous spent casings from both weapons were found in the parking lot at the church.

Upon searching the church, several bullets were located in the worship area. Bullet damage was found on the doorknob, and several rounds were fired through the door. Those casings were found lying on the ground.

Hillard stated that Cox was explained his Miranda rights and consented to speak with the investigator. Cox confessed that he had become very intoxicated and was unhappy about the current events in the news and then used poor judgment while discharging his guns.

Ellis County and District Attorney Patrick Wilson stated that his office was prepared to go forward with the case and jury selection had begun.

“As with a lot of cases, there is a lot of back and forth. I will be honest with you, I was not amenable to any type of plea bargain in this case. I realized that I could not treat him differently than any other citizen who would have been charged with a crime in similar circumstances,” Wilson said. “I believe that this agreement is comparable to what would have been offered and perhaps agreed to by anyone else in similar circumstances. He had no criminal history, and by all accounts, he was a good citizen up to this point. We believe that this is a reasonable outcome.”

Wilson added that this felony conviction will cause Cox to permanently lose his peace officer license. Cox was fired from his position with the Somervell County Sheriff’s Office shortly after his arrest on July 13, 2016.