May 13, 2005

Ross '81 Executed by Lethal Injection

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Michael Ross ’81 was pronounced dead by lethal injection early this morning in New England’s first execution in 45 years, at Osborn Correctional Institution in Somers, Conn.

“The execution of Michael Bruce Ross has been carried out,” said Warden Christine Whidden at 2:25 a.m., according to an AP report.

In 1987, Ross was sentenced to death for the murder of four Connecticut women in the early 1980s. The state supreme court overturned his death penalty ruling in 1995, only to reinstate it in May 2000.

Last year, Ross hired an attorney to speed up his own execution. His decision to forego any appeals caused a flurry of legal activity over the past few months.

“There are people who can’t take it anymore, but who are going to show people how strong and powerful they are,” said Dr. Stuart Grassian at a hearing reported by the AP. “He’s trying to go down in a blaze of glory like these guys did.”

“I owe these people. I killed their daughters. If I could stop the pain, I have to do that. This is my right,” Ross told the AP last year. “I don’t think there’s anything crazy or incompetent about that.”

300 people congregated outside the prison while Ross was being put to death.

On May 14, 1981, Dzung Ngoc Tu, a 25-year-old Cornell graduate student studying agricultural economics, was declared missing. Three days later, her body was found at the bottom of Fall Creek.

In the following years, it became increasingly clear that Tu was the first fatality in a series of eight sexual assault-turned-murders committed by Michael Ross ’81, although he was never prosecuted or convicted of the crime.

Archived article by Sun Staff