Fredericksburg City Manager Beverly Cameron said he is conducting an internal review to find out why he never knew that a city employee was convicted of numerous felonies before and while he was employed.
Louis Philip Cox IV, 28, of Fredericksburg, was charged Tuesday with 10 counts of felony child pornography possession and felony manufacturing of five pounds or more of marijuana. Police also recovered two 9mm guns from the home but there is no indication that Cox owned them, according to a search warrant filed in Fredericksburg Circuit Court.
Fredericksburg Circuit Court records show that Cox pleaded guilty in July 2006 to breaking and entering with intent to commit a felony, grand larceny, petit larceny and felony failure to appear. He was sentenced to 10 years with nine years and two months suspended for the breaking and entering, five years for the larcenies with all suspended and two years for the failure to appear with all suspended.
On Dec. 26, 2008, less than five months after the city hired Cox, he was involved in an air-rifle shooting incident that resulted in a felony conviction on May 24, 2010.
The 2006 and 2010 convictions raise questions about internal communication among city departments and city background checks. Cameron said not all city employees get background checks.
"I found about all of that yesterday," Cameron said in an interview Wednesday afternoon. "We are processing his termination from city employment today."
"I am trying to get to the bottom of it," Cameron said later. "There are a lot of serious and important questions that need to be raised and answered."
Assistant City Manager Mark Whitley said the city hired Cox in August 2008 as a part-time maintance worker for the parks and recreation department. The next year he was hired as a part-time parking attendant at the city garage, which is under the parks and recreation department as a public facility. In July 2010, he was promoted to manage the parking garage—two months after he was convicted for the shooting incident.
Cox lives next door to Robert Antozzi, the director of the Parks and Recreation Department. Cox's mother declined to comment about her son's incident, but did say that she doesn't know Antozzi very well at all. Antozzi could not be reached for comment and no one answered the door at his home.
In the 2008 incident, police officers arrested Cox at about 12:05 a.m. by the East Coast Gas Station, 2307 Jefferson Davis Hwy, after an employee reported that he heard projectiles striking the outside of the building, according to court records and police documents. The employee told police that one pellet entered the store and struck a sign when a customer opened the front door. A Hildrup taxi driver who was parked in the lot also reported that his vehicle was struck several times and he heard loud popping sounds coming from the wooded area across from the gas station. Police officers spotted Cox and ran after him. When they caught up with Cox, he had a pellet rifle and containers of pellets in his pockets.
Cox was 25 years old at the time and charged with using of an air rifle within city limits, two counts of attempted malicious wounding, shooting at an occupied vehicle, shooting at an occupied dwelling, obstruction of justice, resisting arrest, destruction of property and public intoxication. He pleaded guilty to unlawfully shooting into an occupied vehicle and served a month in jail, according to court records.
Cameron said he would typically find out about a city employee getting charged with the crime from either the police department or from the employee.
"I cannot explain what happened in this situation," he said. "We are continuing to investigate internally what happened here with this employee."I wasn’t personally aware of it but I don’t know if a supervisor was or not."
Cox Arrested Tuesday
According to a search warrant filed in Fredericksburg Circuit Court, two informants told police about a marijuana growing operation in the basement of where Cox resided on Devonshire Drive on Monday. The informants are named CI1 and CI2 in the search warrant. CI2 told police that he saw a grow operation on June 9 and that Cox bragged about it to him. He told police that the plants were in a closet in the basement.
"CI2 sated that Cox resides in the basement of the house which is also occupied by Cox’s mother. CI2 stated that he had previous conversations with Cox in which cox bragged about growing his marijuana," the search warrant states. "On June 9, CI2 visited the house at Cox's invitation and Cox led CI2 to the rear sliding glass basement door around a small kitchen bar to a closet door. Cox pointed out that he had removed the closet doorknob and replaced it with a deadbolt. Cox opened the closet door and displayed the grow operation."
Police arrested Cox at work Tuesday. According to the search warrant, police found out about alleged child pornography during interrogation.
“He was told that a special agent with the FBI would be conducting forensic search on the computers that were seized. Cox eventually told your affiant that some type of child pornography may be found on one of the computers, possibly one of the laptops," the search warrant states. Police seized a Dell laptop computer from the basement.
Cox is being held at the Rapphannock Regional Jail without bond.