Police: Murder weapon
"He had a lot of friends. Huey had a lot of friends. "He would do anything for you," says Bret Aldridge.
It's been almost two decades since Aldridge last saw his good friend William Huey Cox, but the memories are still very real.
He says, "I still look at those pictures every once in a while and miss him."
A cancer survivor, the 30-year-old was given a second chance at life.
"He had that attitude, I've already beat death. I'm not going to die," says Aldridge.
Cox's killer though had a different plan. It was March 6, 1991. Cox was found murdered at his apartment. Police say a golf club was used as the murder weapon.
Aldridge says, "I don't know what kind of motive would take such a violent beating except anger."
Later that year police made an arrest. Derrick Carlock was Cox's co-worker and now an accused killer.
"I had assumed he was guilty because he was going to trial," explains Aldridge.
Prosecutors say the motive was robbery. Court documents show the main evidence they had against him was an inmate claiming Carlock confessed in jail. However, the inmate's story was inconsistent with evidence found at the crime scene.
Prosecutors also had Carlock's fingerprint found on a marijuana water bong from Cox's apartment. A jury though didn't think the evidence was enough. They came back in 50 minutes with a not guilty verdict.
Lt. Terry Hastings with the Little Rock Police Department says, "We never want an innocent person convicted but it's cases like this we believe we arrested the correct person."
Hastings says in their eyes the case is closed. Plus, over the years no new evidence has surfaced for it to be re-opened.
"We send it to the prosecutor and the prosecutor also looks at it and examines it and says yes this evidence supports that this person is the killer. So, there's actually two different groups that look at that," explains Hastings.
But the jury isn't alone. Cox's family and Aldridge doubted the suspect's guilt from the beginning.
Aldridge says, "There is nothing I can prove. Everything is basically hearsay that I know about it."
But Aldridge says his suspicions are strong that someone else was responsible. He saw Cox the day before the murder.
He recalls, "He was in a very angry mood when I saw him last.
Cox was fired from his job at a local restaurant.
Aldridge adds, "He seemed to want retribution of some sort because he lost his job and I basically told him no hey it's over with. Just go find another job."
No one knows if he ever carried out his plan for blackmail.
As for Carlock, he sits in jail convicted of another murder in Lee County.
It's no relief though for Aldridge.
While it's a closed case for police, he considers it very much open.
He says, "It bothers me that the killer wasn't brought to justice."
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