Britt Cox has been sentenced to life in prison formurdering Bonni Bergen
, 49, with whom he shared a fondness for meth, and thentorching her home
in an attempt to cover his tracks.
Which might have worked if the fire hadn't burned off his hair and left marks on his skin.
Bergen's life had spiraled out of control prior to her slaying. According to the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office, Bergen's ex-husband, who testified at Cox's trial, noted that she'd earned degrees in biology and environmental design and had worked at both Mesa Verde and Yellowstone National Park years back. But that was before she began suffering from mental illness, which led to drug abuse -- and to Cox.
She and Cox met through mutual meth users who got together when torching up, but they had a bitter falling out. Cox is said to have told friends Bergen snitched on him after cops found a motorcycle he'd stolen and then hidden at a place where she'd once lived -- and he also insisted that she owed him money for drugs and work he'd done for her.
Against this backdrop, Cox broke into Bergen's Lakewood home on July 27, 2009 and stole some tools, as well as her green Chevy Blazer. He then bought some spray paint and tried using it to disguise the vehicle. But at some point, he apparently got what must have seemed like a better idea. Early the next morning, he returned to Bergen's place and shot her in the head, after which he punched a hole in the Blazer's gas tank and poured the fuel inside the house.
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Did he use enough? Hell yes, he did -- so much, in fact, that the resulting explosion blew him out of the house. After Cox was arrested at a Westminster storage locker a few days later, cops couldn't help noticing that his hair had been singed off and his skin looked burned.
In the end, Cox was found guilty of felony murder, first-degree arson and a slew of other crimes, resulting in a life sentence without the possibility of parole plus sixty years. (Editor's note: The DA's office has corrected the sentencing details about Cox, originally released as a life sentence without the possibility of parole plus thirty years.) And authorities don't believe he acted alone. Gene Abbott has already pleaded guilty to attempted accessory to murder and will be sentenced on July 25, while Christopher White faces a whopping twenty counts, including first-degree murder; he'll next appear in court on August 26.
Look below to see Cox's hair-free mug shot.
More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Michael McCullar, 11 others, sentenced in violent Adams County meth ring (PHOTOS)."