Leesville man caught on video killing wife granted early release

Published 10:25 am Tuesday, March 15, 2022

A man convicted in 2005 for fatally shooting his estranged wife in the parking lot of the Leesville Walmart in 1997 has been granted early release by the Louisiana Parole Board.

Anthony Knox, now 59, was granted release on Wednesday after spending 24 years and six months of a 40-year sentence for shooting his wife. Knox was given permission to move to Nevada where he will live with his sister, on the condition he continues taking his medications as directed and regularly checks in with mental health professionals there.

Parole board members Tony Marabella, Sheryl Ranatza and board chairman Brennan Kelsey unanimously agreed to Knox’s release despite Knox continuing to deny he killed his wife.

“Actually I’m not guilty of the crime,” Knox said when he was given the opportunity to speak on the Aug. 1, 1997, incident.

Knox said Wednesday he was present at the time his wife was killed, but said he did not know what happened. During the hearing there was no mention that the attack by Knox on his estranged wife, 32 year-old Staff Sgt. Angela Knox  — who was an active duty soldier assigned to Fort Polk at the time — had been caught on security footage.

After his arrest, Knox was placed in the Feliciana Forensic Facility psychiatric hospital where he was later diagnosed with schizophrenia. Knox said medical professionals told him he suffers from delusions.

In 2001, Knox was deemed competent to stand trial and in 2005 he pleaded guilty to manslaughter, but during Wednesday’s parole hearing Knox said he had been forced to make that plea.

“I was abused and forced into a plea agreement under false charges,” Knox stated. All three parole board members said they approved Knox’s early release based largely upon testimony from psychiatric health professionals who said Knox had recently requested a change in his medication from a daily pill to a bi-monthly injection.

“I’m very pleased to hear that you recognize you have some issues and you voluntarily requested to be injected, which is very important,” Marabella said.

The board’s terms of release for Knox were a slight departure from recommendations by those same health professionals, who testified they believed Knox would be best suited living in a group home in Louisiana. Knox’s sister attested she would be able to provide the care her brother needed in her own home.

During Marabella’s remarks, Knox expressed some disagreement with his own diagnosis, saying he did not have schizophrenia and had only been diagnosed with delusions.

Marabella then asked Knox if he would take his medication as prescribed and listen to mental health professionals as they diagnose and treat him, and Knox answered he would.

Immediately following the exchange, the board cast their votes to approve his early release.

According to arrest reports, on July 30, 1997, Knox had been served with divorce documents and a restraining order filed by his wife. Two days later, Knox followed his estranged wife to the Leesville Walmart and waited in his vehicle with a 9 mm pistol as she entered the store.

When Angela Knox returned to the parking lot at 4:55 a.m. and began loading items into the back of her vehicle, authorities said Knox approached her from behind and hit her in the face with the pistol.

After Angela Knox fell to the ground, footage from security cameras installed in the store the week prior recorded Knox standing over his wife and shooting her four times at point blank range in the head and chest.

Knox remained at the scene when Leesville Police arrived just minutes later, and he was taken into custody. He had initially been charged with second-degree murder.

In January, Vernon Parish District Attorney Terry Lambright submitted a letter to the parole board strongly opposing Knox’s request for release.

“How does it benefit our society, especially women in our society, to reward Anthony Knox and release him from prison after serving 24 1/2 years of a 40-year sentence. Mr. Knox shot his wife with a gun and killed her. He deserves no reward,” Lambright’s letter to the parole board read.

On Wednesday, Lambright told the American Press he was disappointed in the parole board’s decision, and he believed justice had not been served.

“Our state should not be releasing individuals that intentionally kill another person, except in very exceptional cases. This case is not exceptional. Anthony Knox should have remained in prison to serve his prison sentence,” Lambright said.