An outspoken Marine is found murdered.
Audiences lined up to see Jack Nicholson and Tom Cruise in the hit movie, “A Few Good Men”. But not many were aware that it was based on a true story, one that may have led to the murder of a courageous former Marine.
David Cox joined the Marine Corps straight out of high school and was stationed at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. One day, while on duty, David became aware of a problem. Another platoon member, PFC William Alvarado, had written to his senator complaining about Marine misconduct.
David’s former squad leader, Christopher Valdez, explains how Alvarado was targeted for a “Code Red,” or hazing:
David Cox convinced his platoon to stop the hazing. When they removed the gag and untied Alvarado, he was unconsciousness.
Alvarado was rushed to the hospital. He recovered, but his 10 attackers, including David Cox, were brought up on charges. Cox was going to be charged with attempted murder. But he said he was just following orders.
Don Marcari was appointed to defend David Cox:
David claimed the Code Red started with implied orders from his superior officers.
At his trial, David was convicted of simple assault. He was sentenced to time already served in the brig. He then completed his duty and received an honorable discharge. He returned to civilian life in his hometown near Boston.
Years later, “A Few Good Men” was released. David felt that the filmmakers had stolen his story. David Cox’s girlfriend, Elaine Tinsley, recalls at the time:
David and some of the other Marines involved in the Code Red, sued the movie production company. While they waited for a ruling, David spoke out about his case on radio talk shows.
By January 1994, David was living with Elaine and hoping his temporary job with UPS would become permanent. The night before he was supposed to get the good news, David’s back was giving him trouble, so he spent the night on the couch. The next morning, Elaine left at about 8:30, and then called home at about noon. David didn’t answer, but there was a message for him on the machine: UPS wanted to hire him. Elaine was happy David would be getting his wish:
At 5:30 pm, Elaine returned home:
David’s truck was still in the driveway, with the keys in the ignition. His un-cashed paycheck was on the dashboard and his 9-millimeter gun was in the glove box. But David was gone. Elaine didn’t know what to make of the situation:
The answer came with the spring thaw. The body of David Cox was discovered on the banks of a river in Medfield, Massachusetts, about five miles from his apartment.
Sgt. Kevin Shea of Massachusetts State Police, describes the manner of death:
It was clear that robbery was not the motive. David’s cash and his credit cards were still in his wallet. And police ruled out a random attack.
Sgt. Shea believes David left home with someone he knew:
David’s attorney, Donald Marcari, thinks the murder was somehow related to the military:
But what was the motive?
After the release of “A Few Good Men,” David gave an interview on the radio. He was quite vocal about his story and the U.S. activities in Cuba. David’s mother worried that he had been too outspoken:
David’s brother, Steve, had a different theory suggesting another possible scenario. He thought that perhaps the murder was connected to David’s job at UPS:
According to Sgt. Kevin Shea, nothing has been ruled out and the investigation is still open: