Jury finds Olympia man guilty in 2 murder-for-hire plots

On Thursday, a jury found an Olympia man guilty of two counts of solicitation to commit first-degree murder and one count of violating a protection order.

Jurors spent about four and a half hours on Wednesday and four hours on Thursday deliberating the case involving Brian Cox, 44, who is accused of offering a former co-worker $10,000 to find someone to kill his wife so he could avoid paying her money in their divorce settlement.

“I’m pleased with the outcome, both for the domestic violence victim, as well as the other victim,” said Thurston County deputy prosecuting attorney Craig Juris.

Cox will remain in custody until sentencing, which will likely be during the next few weeks, he said.

According to court papers, Ray Lopez-Ortiz, an employee at the Department of Financial Institutions, told Tumwater police that Cox offered to split a $250,000 life insurance policy to make his wife disappear last spring.

Tumwater police recorded a subsequent conversation between the two men in June, and Cox allegedly said the life insurance policy was no longer valid. “I still want that (expletive) dead,” Cox told Lopez-Ortiz, who was wearing a body wire and small hidden camera that secretly recorded the conversation. “…We’re talking about murder man. You can find someone?”

Cox’s second count of solicitation to commit first-degree murder is for allegedly offering a cellmate at Thurston County Jail money to kill Lopez-Ortiz. Cox’s attorney, Paul Strophy, said his client was not serious during his recorded conversations and that Cox did not want his coworker to arrange his wife’s murder.

And he said Cox’s former cell mate was trying to set Cox up in order to get a better deal from prosecutors in his own criminal case.


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