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Rapist killed by police in Oak Cliff beat murder charge

7-9-15 Texas:

Joe Cody was a rapist. He was a robber. He was a thief. And, authorities say, he once murdered a man at random — though he beat the rap for that on a technicality.

“He was a sociopath. He really was,” said former prosecutor Andy Beach. “He was a scary, scary fellow.”

A Dallas County jury agreed and quickly decided in 1985 that Dallas was safer without Cody on the streets. It sentenced him to life in prison.

Yet, Cody, 59, was free Tuesday afternoon, back in Dallas and walking around Bishop Avenue while known to the state as a moderate-risk sex offender. When Dallas officers swarmed him to arrest him for violating his parole, he pulled out a handgun.

Within seconds, Cody was dead. No one else was hurt, or could be hurt again by Cody.

Police investigators Wednesday were still sorting through what happened. Cody’s family portrayed him as a caring man who wasn’t likely to shoot at police officers, but his criminal history suggests he was a violent criminal who committed heinous, senseless acts.

Cody and the ‘Can Man’

Beach, who secured the life sentence in 1985, said Cody was a white supremacist.

Cody had served nine years in prison for sexual assault and aggravated robbery from 1974, according to court records.

Beach said that one night in 1984, Cody decided to go around West Dallas with his wife and shoot black people at random. Cody pulled over and asked Dayon Martin, a passer-by, for directions. Cody then pointed a gun at Martin, robbed him and shot him in the shoulder as Martin tried to get away.

Also that night, authorities said, Cody pulled the same maneuver but shot and killed Joseph Jones, known as the “Can Man” in the area because he collected aluminum cans along the roadways. The husband and wife were also indicted for another robbery that night.

Beach said the “Can Man” was innocent and harmless.

State District Judge Richard Mays dismissed the murder case against the Codys because the prosecutor re-indicted the case after 120 days, which was then a violation of the Speedy Trial Act. Mays’ decision was affirmed by the Texas Criminal Court of Appeals.

“I’m upset about it,” prosecutor Jim Nelson told The Dallas Morning News in 1985 after the appeals court’s decision. “Two people we feel we have a very strong case against for the murder of an innocent human being are going to never be able to be prosecuted for that murder.”

But the jury in the Martin shooting heard about the Can Man shooting and gave Cody the maximum sentence of life behind bars.

Even behind bars, Cody got in trouble. In 1991, he was convicted of another aggravated sexual assault of a prisoner.

Beach said he watches about three or four people whom he doesn’t want to see get out of prison. Cody, he said, “was one of those guys.”

Cody was first paroled in 2008, but was sentenced to two years in prison again in 2010 for failing to register as a sex offender. He was paroled for the last time July 14, 2014.

Cody had been living in a halfway house recently in Dallas. It’s unclear what he was doing Tuesday in North Oak Cliff. Witnesses said he appeared to be wearing a suit. Police had set up in the area after they received an anonymous tip that he’d be there.

Meanwhile, not long before Cody was shot Tuesday, Beach had lunch in the Bishop Arts District, just blocks away from where Cody died.

“You talk about life coming full circle,” Beach said.

‘Couldn’t ask for a better brother’

Officials said they believe four officers were forced to shoot Cody after he refused to drop his gun. Police are trying to determine whether Cody fired any shots at the officers.

But his sister, Rosa Cody, said Wednesday that her brother didn’t deserve what he got.

“What the cops did to him was wrong,” she said. “Putting all them bullets in him like they did — and four cops? That was wrong.”

Rosa Cody said she had a “great relationship” with her brother, whom she described as an “excellent person” who loved to sit out at night and look at the stars.

Rosa Cody — who said she is much younger than her brother but declined to say her age — said she didn’t know anything about Cody’s murder and robbery cases. Still, she said, “he did his time for all that.”

“They shouldn’t hold that accountable to him because all that was in his past,” she said.

She said that while Joe Cody spent most of his life in prison, he “would do anything for you” when he was out.

“He was a loving, kind brother,” she said. “You couldn’t ask for a better brother.” ..Source.. by TRISTAN HALLMAN

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