Flying Biscuit murder suspect due in court Jan. 24

Mark Cox, who is facing the death penalty after being charged in the Jan. 13, 2012, murder of south Charlotte worker Danielle Watson and her unborn child, is scheduled to appear in court Jan. 24.

Police say Cox, who worked at the Flying Biscuit Café at the Stonecrest shopping center with Watson, stabbed the pregnant woman multiple times before fleeing to Fayetteville in her car with money stolen from the business’ safe. Watson’s body was found the next day behind a trash receptacle near the café, and Cox was arrested on Jan. 16 in Fayetteville and brought back to Charlotte. He faces two charges of murder as part of the state’s new Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which allows prosecutors to charge a suspect for crimes against an unborn child.

Prosecutors announced in May 2012 they would seek the death penalty against Cox when the case went to trial. A trial has yet to be scheduled, and the Jan. 24 court date is not for trial.

Police say they found what is believed to be the murder weapon – a large butcher knife resting in a mug of a cleaning solution – and Cox’s bloody work uniform when they searched his Blockhouse
Court home, about a mile away from the Flying Biscuit Café, on Jan. 14.

In a police search warrant, the suspect’s sister, Chelsea Cox, told police she arrived at the home she shared with her brother around 10:50 p.m. on Jan. 13, and was quickly called by the suspect, who asked her to open the door. Mark Cox then told his sister he had stabbed Watson multiple times during an argument, police quote Chelsea Cox as saying in a report made public after they searched the home. She then told police she also found her brother’s work uniform soaked in blood and hidden in a trash bag in her closet, according to the warrant.

Kevin Smith, Watson’s fiancé, told police he had spoken to Watson at 10:15 p.m. on Jan. 13 and heard some kind of commotion in the background. When he didn’t hear from Watson by 12:15 a.m., he called police and told a dispatcher he thought a robbery was taking place at the Flying Biscuit Café, but a miscommunication between Smith and the police dispatcher sent an officer looking for an establishment called “Plum Biscuits,” which does not exist, with an address of 3930 Rea Road, which is a private home. The Flying Biscuit Café is located at 7930 Rea Road. It wasn’t until later in the morning on Jan. 14 that police arrived at the Flying Biscuit Café after an employee arrived at the restaurant and called 911 to report the robbery. Blood was found inside the café, and Watson’s body was discovered a short distance away.

Cox, who is still in Mecklenburg County Jail, was previously incarcerated on charges of robbery with a dangerous weapon and breaking and entering. Management at the Flying Biscuit Café was aware of his past arrests prior to hiring him.

• The murder trial against Chauncey Sterling is expected to start June 10. Sterling is charged with the April 22, 2011, murder of Carolinas HealthCare System executive Robert Barber near his SouthPark home. Barber, 64, was found shot on Mullins Ford Road. Prosecutors have said they will not seek the death penalty against Sterling, 18, mostly because of his age and because prior to this incident he had a clean criminal record.

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