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Bail Bondsman Who Was Target of Murder-for-Hire Plot Now Faces Kidnap Charges

Maryland Heights police on Tuesday charged Gerald "Jerry" Cox, owner of Cox Bail Bonds in St. Charles, with burglary, kidnapping, tampering with a motor vehicle, felony theft and failing to inform law enforcement of fugitive apprehension.

Thumbnail image for jerry_cox1.jpgAccording to a report published today in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the 65-year-old Cox and his son James ordered four men on August 17, 2008, to break into a Maryland Heights hotel and kidnap a man who owed Cox $5,500. The man's mother ended up paying the money to free her son, the warrants say.

Cox and the Maryland Heights police have not returned phone calls requesting comment on the charges.

Filings on case.net, the online Missouri courts database, indicate that Cox has not been taken into custody and that his bond has been set at $50,000.

This is not the first time Cox has made headlines. A Democratic state representative from 1978 to 1982, he was the target of a 2004 murder-for-hire plot masterminded by a rival bail bondsman. He is also a senior member of the Missouri Professional Bail Bonding Association, a group of bondsmen that lobbied to keep a law on the books that allows convicted felons to be licensed as bail bondsmen in the state of Missouri. (For more bail-bonding intrigue, see my April 7 feature story, "Birds of a Feather.")

Cox's son James, who is also employed by Cox Bail Bonds, faces the same charges as his father, as well as a charge of unlawful acts by a surety recovery agent. In July 2004 the younger Cox pleaded guilty and served a year in jail following a conviction on charges of felony conspiracy; as a Florissant police officer, he had twice planted drugs and other evidence on a woman who was going through a divorce with one of his associates.

Jerry Cox has also been active in St. Louis city courts recently. On November 11, he filed a petition for a writ of mandamus against Circuit Court Clerk Mariano Favazza. According to case.net, the petition was denied by Judge Thomas Grady on November 24.

Several sources in the bail bond community (who asked that their names not appear in print) believe Cox filed for the writ of mandamus -- an order issued by a judge that compels a government official to perform the duties of his or her job -- after Favazza removed him from the list of bail bondsmen approved to operate in the City of St. Louis.

Tom Roberts, a clerk in the city's bonding department, would not say whether Cox's name has been removed from the roster of approved bondsmen. "I haven't heard that one yet," he said, before directing the inquiry to Favazza's office.

A receptionist in Favazza's office says her boss is traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Check back for updates as the story develops.

-Keegan Hamilton


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