1641: Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford 1985: Mohammed Munir, Indonesian Communist

2005: Michael Ross, the Roadside Strangler

May 13th, 2010 Headsman

As of this writing, New England has seen only one solitary execution in the past half-century.*

That one execution happened five years ago today: the lethal injection of serial murderer/rapist Michael Ross in Connecticut.

The “farm boy from Brooklyn, Conn.”, sexual sadist, and Cornell University graduate** went no a rape-and-murder spree in the early 1980s. He would confess to eight homicides.

Condemned in 1987, Ross spent 17 years fighting execution before a 2004 volte face had him waiving his appeals in the interests of sparing victims’ families any further agony.

This precipitated an intense last-minute legal melee over whether the admittedly disturbed Ross possessed legally sufficient competency to pursue his own death. A scheduled execution in January was scratched at the last moment when a federal judge insisted on a competency determination.

A serial killer who consents to his own execution wouldn’t typically be the sort to attract a lot of sympathy, but in true-blue New England, any brush with the executioner is cause for public hand-wringing.

Ross, of course, was adjudged competent to drop his appeals, and that was that.

After the execution, one of the psychiatrists who disputed Ross’s competency to choose execution received a mailed taunt from the killer, dated May 10:

Check, and mate. You never had a chance!

And it seems our date’s principal reserved an even gnarlier gambit for the judge who once blocked his execution.

District Court jurist Robert Chatigny has found himself much in the news with Michael Ross since he was nominated by President Barack Obama for a seat on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. That nomination has been held up thus far largely because Chatigny berated and threatened Ross’s attorney (the one who was trying to get his client executed) with disbarment.

* The last one before Michael Ross? Joseph Taborsky, electrocuted in Connecticut on May 17, 1960.

** His criminal career began in Ithaca, N.Y. Cornell is famous for its suicides, but Ross apparently couldn’t go through with his after he contemplated taking his own life.

Ross was also a graduate of something called Killingly High School. True story.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 21st Century,Capital Punishment,Common Criminals,Connecticut,Crime,Death Penalty,Diminished Capacity,Execution,History,Lethal Injection,Milestones,Murder,Rape,Ripped from the Headlines,Serial Killers,USA,Volunteers

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3 thoughts on “2005: Michael Ross, the Roadside Strangler”

  1. dirquebras says:

    What forgiveness is

    “Forgiveness is a form of realism. It doesn’t deny, minimize, or justify what others have done to us or the pain that we have suffered. It encourages us to look squarely at those old wounds and see them for what they are. And it allows us to see how much energy we have wasted and how much we have damaged ourselves by not forgiving.
    Forgiveness is an internal process. It can’t be forced, and it doesn’t come easy. It brings with it great feelings of wellness and freedom. But we experience this only when we want to heal and when we are willing to work for it.
    Forgiveness is a sign of positive self-esteem. We no longer identify ourselves by our past injuries and injustices. We are no longer victims. We claim the right to stop hurting when we say, “I’m tired of the pain, and I want to be healed.” At that moment, forgiveness becomes a possibility-although it may take time and much hard work before we finally achieve it.
    Forgiveness is letting go of the past. It doesn’t erase what happened, but it does allow us to lessen and perhaps even eliminate the pain of the past. The pain from our past no longer dictates how we live in the present, and it no longer determines our future.
    It also means that we no longer need resentment and anger as an excuse for our shortcomings. We don’t need them as a weapon to punish others nor as a shield to protect ourselves by keeping others away. And most importantly, we don’t need these feelings to identify who we are. We become more than merely victims of our past.
    Forgiveness is no longer wanting to punish those who hurt us. It is understanding that the anger and hatred that we feel toward them hurts us far more than it hurts them. It is seeing how we hide ourselves in our anger and how those feelings prevent us from healing. It is discovering the inner peace that becomes ours when we let go of the past and forget vengeance.
    Forgiveness is moving on. It is recognizing all that we have lost because of our refusal to forgive. It is realizing that the energy that we spend hanging on to the past is better spent on improving our present and our future. It is letting go of the past so that we can move on.
    We all have been hurt. And at one time or another most of us have made the mistake of trying to run away from the past. The problem is that no matter how fast or how far we run, the past always catches up to us-and usually at the most inopportune time. When we forgive, we are dealing with the past in such a way that we no longer have to run.
    For me, learning how to forgive wasn’t easy. But I did learn, and my life is better for it – even here on death row.”

    Michael B. Ross
    Death Row
    Somers, Connecticut

  2. Laura says:

    This is a man that had to be executed. Why is it when a serial killer or murder is caught too many people want to save his life. What about the poor victims, and their families. No-one seems to care what they have gone through.
    Ross like so many out there was inhuman.
    I feel they stay on death row way too long. 2 years max for appeals. And you should be executed the way you executed your victims.
    This is not cruel but true justice. People need to stop making these murderers out as heroes. What about what the victim endured. Our society needs to change the way they think about these monsters.
    I am a true Christian. The executions of these murderers is not a violation of their rights and religion.
    Wake up and read your Bible carefully. God says to send them to him, so he may deal with them.
    Tired of the babble of trying to save a life that has tortured and killed are fellow man , woman or child.

  3. Kevin M. Sullivan says:

    Anyone who thinks a guy like Ross doesn’t need killing, needs their head gear washed out.

    All human life is not precious and wonderful. Sometimes a person will become much like a rabid animal, and Ross was one of them. When he breathed his last, life on this planet became just a little bit better.

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