An Idaho Falls man who killed his brother by hitting him with a pool cue was sentenced to prison Wednesday.
Cory James Hix, 41, was arrested in September after he brought his brother, Jeremy Hix, to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center. Jeremy Hix died a day after the incident.
Bonneville County Chief Public Defender Jordan Crane argued that his client never intended to kill his brother and could serve on probation. District Judge Bruce Pickett found the seriousness of the loss of life warranted a prison sentence. He sentenced Cory Hix to two to 13 years in prison.
“It is a difficult case because based on where we are, based on what has happened, there are no easy answers,” Pickett said.
Cory and Jeremy Hix were drinking at Pockets Bar on Lincoln Road the day of the incident. Surveillance video caught the two talking, at times appearing agitated. The argument continued until Cory Hix hit his brother in the head with a pool cue.
Crane said his client’s actions were a snap decision, fueled by alcohol rather than murderous intent. Cory Hix attempted to revive his brother after hitting him, then carried him to a car to transport to the hospital.
Cory Hix lied to police about what had happened, saying he had accidentally hit his brother while twirling the pool cue. According to court records, doctors realized Jeremy Hix would not survive and doubted it was an accident. Cory Hix later admitted he had intentionally hit his brother.
The Hix brothers’ mother and Jeremy Hix’s girlfriend both read victim impact statements. Both lamented the influence alcohol had on the family.
“I pray Cory can find the help and peace he needs, and with time all of us can heal,” Jeremy Hix’s girlfriend said.
Crane said the case was one of the most unique he’d seen in his career. He described the case as a “tragic anomaly.” He pointed out that Cory Hix was being sentenced just 114 days after his arrest, unusually fast for a manslaughter case.
Crane said Cory Hix was remorseful and pained by his brother’s death. He said Cory Hix was not violent in his regular life, with a limited criminal history. He also pointed to the support Cory Hix was receiving from family members, several of whom wrote letters to the judge.
“They remember both brothers. They mourn the loss of both brothers,” Crane said.
Bonneville County Prosecutor Danny Clark played the video of the attack for the judge, using his laptop because the family had said they did not want to view the video.
Clark said he was not concerned about Cory Hix’s initial lies after the crime, saying he had cooperated and been a model defendant since then. He said a prison sentence was warranted, and that Jeremy Hix’s death was not an accident.
“The best way I can describe this case is as an accidental result to intended conduct,” Clark said.
Clark said he’s sure Cory Hix did not intend to kill his brother, but the results of his actions were too serious to dismiss.
Cory Hix submitted a letter to Pickett, but did not make a public statement during his sentencing.
In addition to prison time, Hix was sentenced to pay a $1,000 fine. He was given credit for the four months he had already served in prison.