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Lawsuit alleges murder-for-hire plot from prison

WOODSTOCK – Carolyn Mahoney says her ex-husband has tried to kill her again – this time from behind bars where he's serving a 20-year sentence.

Billy J. Cox, a 70-year-old Bull Valley businessman, was convicted in November 2007 of attempted murder and aggravated domestic battery. He beat Mahoney, who then had the last name Cox and since has remarried, in the face with a blunt object and then locked her in a garage with cars running.

As part of a civil complaint filed this week, Mahoney is seeking an injunction that would prevent Cox or his attorney, Mark Gummerson, from making any payments or selling off Cox's property without a court order.

Mahoney alleges that while in custody at Dixon Correctional Center, Cox has sought out at least two inmates in a murder-for-hire plot. At least one of them agreed to participate, she said, and receive payment from Gummerson.

Gummerson is in control of Cox's finances, according to court documents, and Cox needs his cooperation to make and deliver payments to the "contract killer."

Gummerson was not immediately available for comment Thursday.

Mahoney said she was approached by members of the Illinois Department of Corrections, who informed her of the alleged plot. A DOC spokesperson had not returned a phone call as of late this morning.

Mahoney since has installed security alarms and cameras and "lost a general feeling of personal security while in public."

The alleged plot also has caused her to lose sleep, shake and sob, according to the lawsuit. As such, she is seeking at least $50,000 in damages.

Cox is scheduled to be paroled in 2022.

Mahoney, who spent weeks in the hospital recovering from broken facial bones after the beating, has become a speaker on domestic violence.

Woodstock attorney Robert Hanlon filed the lawsuit on Mahoney's behalf. He also was not immediately available for comment.

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