Double murderer to be released from Oregon prison - KPTV - FOX 12

Double murderer to be released from Oregon prison

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Scott Cox's most recent mug shot from the Department of Corrections. Scott Cox's most recent mug shot from the Department of Corrections.
Scott Cox in a jail mug shot from the 1990s. Scott Cox in a jail mug shot from the 1990s.

A Newberg man who pleaded no contest to the murders of two Portland women in the early 90s will be released from an Oregon prison in two weeks.

Local police investigators told FOX 12 that Scott William Cox, 49, was also looked at in as many as 20 unsolved murders in the Northwest and other areas.

Cox will be released from Deer Ridge Correctional Institution in Madras on Feb. 22, after serving roughly 20 years of a 25 year sentence.

FOX 12 has learned Cox will be transported to Yamhill County, where he was living at the time of his initial arrest on murder charges. A Yamhill County community corrections officer told FOX 12 that authorities consider Cox a high-risk offender and he will be temporarily housed in the county jail as a boarder. He will be able to come and go at will.

In late 1993, Cox pleaded no contest in Multnomah County to the 1990 stabbing death of Reena Ann Brunson, 34, of Portland and the 1991 murder of Victoria Rhone, 32, also of Portland. Brunson's body was found in a Portland grocery store parking lot. Rhone's body was found in a Portland railway yard.

When contacted by FOX12, Reena Brunson's mother said she had not been informed of Cox's impending release from prison.  She declined further comment.

Investigators who worked on the original case told FOX 12 that Cox drew the attention of police investigators nationwide. A long-haul trucker, Cox drove the west from Canada to Mexico and as far east as Ohio. Investigators said Cox was looked at in the unsolved murders of as many as 20 women.

FOX12 reported in 1993 that a Multnomah County Assistant District Attorney was believed the state's case was hurt because police investigators improperly obtained confessions from Cox. The Multnomah County judge invalidated those confessions. Prosecutors had hoped to convict Cox on aggravated murder charges, which would have carried a possible death sentence.

One of the original police investigators told FOX12 Cox's release from prison deeply concerns him.

Yamhill County community corrections said they do not know how long Cox will be housed as a boarder at the county jail, a practice that is sometimes used for high-risk offenders. State law requires he return to the county where he was living at the time of his arrest.

Cox was living in Newberg on post-prison supervision for a forgery case in 1993. Yamhill County officials said Cox has no family or community ties to the area.

He initially applied to be released to Douglas County, but that release plan was denied.

"Because of the situation and the possible risk to the community, I have offered resources to Community Corrections Director Ted Smietana," said Yamhill County Sheriff Jack Crabtree in a prepared statement. "I will have detectives working closely with post-prison officers to monitor this individual."

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