Randy J. Cox, Jr. survived a nail in his temple, but he couldn’t dodge prison.
Cox, 57, a former Belleville roofer who gained notoriety when he survived being shot in the temple with a nail gun in 2004, pleaded guilty to making methamphetamine on Wednesday.
Cox initially balked at the agreed seven-year prison sentence, but eventually agreed. St. Clair County Chief Judge John Baricevic accepted the plea and imposed the sentence
In exchange for the plea, prosecutors dropped the felony from a Class X, punishable by up to 30 years, to a Class 1, which is punishable by up to 15 years. The plea will also allow Cox to receive drug treatment in prison.
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“I hope the best for my client. I hope he gets the treatment he needs, and I hope that he can return to society as a productive and healthy citizen after serving his sentence,” said Cox’s lawyer Alex Enyart.
Cox was charged after Belleville police were called to a home in the 3500 block of West A Street after multiple complaints of overcrowding and suspicious activity. When police arrived, they found evidence of a meth lab, including ingredients used to make the drug.
In 2004, Cox went to an emergency room after a struggle over an air-powered nail gun left him with an inch-and-a-half roofing nail in his skull. He was airlifted to a St. Louis hospital where the nail was removed.
“It was like when you go swimming and clear your ears underwater,” Cox told a reporter in 2004. “They pulled on it and suddenly the pressure was gone.”
He was released from the hospital two days later.