ST. CHARLES, Mo. – The man charged in the 1993 abduction, rape, and murder of Angie Housman appeared in a St. Charles County courtroom Monday afternoon for a pretrial hearing. Earl Cox will next appear in court in April. The judge set an April 2021 start for the murder trial. Meanwhile, the St. Charles County prosecutor has not yet decided if he'll pursue the death penalty against Cox.
Cox was charged in June 2019 with first-degree murder and first-degree sex abuse. He was already in federal prison elsewhere when the charges were filed.
Melanie Martin, Housman's cousin, was in the courtroom Monday and said she couldn't breathe after Cox walked in.
"It was like looking at a real-life monster," she said.
Housman, who was 9 years old, was abducted on November 18, 1993, shortly after getting off her school bus. She was about half a block away from her home when she was taken.
Housman's body was discovered nine days later in the Busch Wildlife Area in St. Charles County. A deer hunter found her tied to a tree. She was bound with handcuffs and duct tape and had been sexually assaulted. She was malnourished and dehydrated.
A torn piece of Housman's underwear was used as a gag and that she suffered deep cuts to her wrists and right thigh.
An autopsy determined Housman died of exposure. Temperatures were below freezing hours before her body was found.
The cold case was broken open by new DNA evidence, according to St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney Tim Lohmar.
In February 2019, forensic lab technicians confirmed tests they'd run on pieces of Housman's underwear contained DNA belonging to two individuals: Angie Housman and Earl Cox.
Lohmar said the chances of finding someone else matching Cox's DNA profile would be one in 58.1 trillion. There are approximately 7.5 billion people on Earth.
Cox has prior convictions for child sex abuse and for running an international child porn internet ring. He was born and raised in St. Louis and lived just a few streets away from where Houseman was abducted.
Cox enlisted in the US Air Force in 1975. In 1982, he was dishonorably discharged due to multiple sex offenses involving four juveniles while stationed in Germany. He was court-martialed and sentenced to eight years in Leavenworth Penitentiary. Cox was released from prison in 1985 and placed on parole.
He transferred his parole to Missouri and moved in with family in the 3400 block of Wismer Avenue in Breckenridge Hills. This address is located roughly a quarter-mile from where Housman was abducted.
In October 1989, Cox was investigated and later charged in Overland for sexual abuse of two girls. The incidents were said to have taken place at Mort Jacobs Park, which is located immediately south of Buder Elementary School where Housman attended.
Because of the charges in the Overland case, Cox's parole was revoked and he was sent back to Leavenworth. He was released again in December 1992 and moved to the St. Ann area. From 1993 to 1995, Cox lived on Dade Avenue in Ferguson. Prosecutors noted that Cox's sister has lived in the 2900 block of Lesmer Court in Overland since 1992. The Lesmer address is three homes east of Buder Elementary and approximately .8 miles from where Housman was last seen alive.
In early 2019, during the Housman investigation, authorities uncovered new evidence possibly tying Cox to additional sex crimes against one of the juvenile victims in the Overland case.
Cox is also facing four counts of sodomy in St. Louis County for a case involving a second girl.