Eddie David Cox, a former Kansas City Mafia boss who was released on Thursday after spending more than three decades in prison, said he made many bad decisions in his life.
But he denied participating in several murders linked to the so-called “black mafia” criminal network he allegedly helped run in Kansas City in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Cox, 86, was granted compassionate release from the Beijing Federal Prison, Illinois. In a telephone interview on Friday, Cox said he was in a state of culture shock.
“Everything has changed,” he says. “People have changed. People are not even courteous anymore.
Cox was reunited with his son, daughter and grandchildren on Friday in Springfield, Missouri, where he now resides.
“I’m just grateful that this judge gave me a second chance,” he said.
Cox, a white man, was one of the black mafia bosses with James Eugene Richardson and James Phillip “Doc” Dearborn. The group controlled the East Side of Kansas City for a short time and were active in the drug trade, prostitution, and loan sharking.
The organization is believed to be responsible for 17 murders.
Cox said if the Kansas City Police Department had evidence he was involved in a murder, he would have been charged.
“I’ve never committed a murder, ever,” Cox said. “These are just suspicions.”
In 1989, Cox was charged with drug and firearms offenses and other crimes, including impersonating an officer.
According to court documents, Cox claimed to be a Drug Enforcement Administration officer, wearing a badge and a gun and driving a red Ford Crown Victoria. On several occasions he presented himself as a federal agent and “confiscated” money, cocaine and firearms.
After being sentenced to life in prison, Cox believed he was going to die behind bars. As he served his sentence, Cox said, he “thought about all the bad decisions I made and made a number of them.”
“As I got older, I realized that my whole life had been wasted.”
Now a free man, Cox said he plans to work as a legal assistant at a law firm helping prisoners.
“I’m just trying to have a clean slate.”