2nd Degree murder charges filed on Winston-Salem man

Thomas James Cox 

On July 05, 2013, officers with the Winston-Salem Police Department were dispatched along with Emergency Medical Services to 4101 Primrose Path on a reported overdose.  Responding personnel located Amy Star Sizemore at the scene in apparent medical distress.  Despite all medical efforts, Ms. Sizemore was pronounced deceased shortly thereafter.   

Evidence located at the scene was indicative of intravenous drug abuse at the time the death occurred.  Ms. Sizemore’s death has been under investigation by Detectives with the Winston-Salem Police Department’s Special Investigations Division, Criminal Investigations Division and authorities with the Forsyth County Medical Examiner’s Office.  In August of 2013, authorities with the Medical Examiner’s Office determined a cause of death in this matter as heroin toxicity due to intravenous drug abuse. 

In late February of 2014, the investigative findings in this matter were presented to the District Attorney’s Office for consideration.  On February 27, 2014, authorities arrested Thomas James Cox in connection with the death of Amy Star Sizemore.  Thomas Cox has been charged with 2nd Degree Murder under North Carolina General Stature 14-17 (B) (2), which defines the crime in part as follows; 
The murder is one that was proximately caused by the unlawful distribution of opium or any synthetic or natural salt, compound, derivative, or preparation of opium, or cocaine or other substance described in G.S. 90-90(1)d., or methamphetamine, and the ingestion of such substance caused the death of the user.

At the time of his arrest, Thomas Cox was being held in the Surry County Detention Center on unrelated charges.  Thomas Cox was placed under a $1,000,000.00 secured bond in regards to this matter.

Authorities traditionally combat the distribution and use of illicit drugs by utilizing statutes specifically geared toward the possession and distribution of controlled substances.  Many of these statues carry substantial punishment upon conviction, to include lengthy prison sentences and asset forfeitures. 

The crime of 2nd Degree Murder is also an option in matters in which the ingestion of certain illicit drugs results in the death of the user.  However, the evidentiary threshold necessary to charge 2nd Degree Murder in these matters is extremely high and therefore the charge is not common in North Carolina. 

Anyone with information concerning this investigation, or information regarding the distribution of illicit drugs, is asked to contact the Winston-Salem Police Department at (336) 773-7700 or CrimeStoppers at (336) 727-2800. 

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