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News :: Human Rights
Stop New England's First Execution in 45 Years, scheduled for Monday in CT
30 Jan 2005
Modified: 04:25:05 AM
Please help stop the planned execution this Monday of the first person to be executed in New England in 45 years. We need as many people as possible to be at the Judiciary Committee public hearing on Monday, January 31, 2005 from 2: 00 P. M. to 7: 00 P. M. in Room 2E of the LOB (Legislative Office Building) in Hartford, CT. And please forward this message to others!!!
Michael Ross, a mentally ill man who now wants to die in order to escape deplorable death row conditions, is scheduled to become on Monday the first person to be executed in New England in 45 years. A hearing will be held in Hartford this Monday, January 31, from 2:00 to 7:00 pm -- please help us pack the room!!

Please forward this message to everyone whom you know who might possibly be able to attend the hearing!! The details are below, including a webpage where you can send a message to Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell.

See you in Hartford on Monday!! Thank you!!!


The Judiciary Committee will hold a public hearing on Monday, January 31, 2005 from 2: 00 P. M. to 7: 00 P. M. in Room 2E of the LOB (Legislative Office Building).


Breaking News
It appears roller coaster ride is going to continue and the execution has been postponed once again. The latest date set is Monday, January 31st, at 9 p.m.. We will post more information when we get it so please be sure to keep checking this website ( ) for the latest on the schedule for vigils and what you can do to help abolish the death penalty in Connecticut.

Action Alert:

The CNADP (CT Network to Abolish the Death Penalty) is organizing vigils in the main lobby of the Legislative Office Buildingl. The goal is to focus attention on the death penalty and scheduled 1/31/05 execution. Vigils are being held Monday through Friday in the Legislative Office Building lobby from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. We meet near the escalators. Contact Amy Harris at amyharrisct (at) or phone (860) 673-1597 to indicate which day you can come.

Michael Ross

The state of Connecticut is scheduled to execute Michael Bruce Ross, a white man, for the 1983 and 1984 New London County murders of Robin Stavinsky and minors Wandy Baribeault, Leslie Shelley, and April Brunais. All four victims were white.

If the death sentence is carried out, it will be the first in Connecticut in nearly 45 years. In 1994, the Supreme Court overturned Ross's death sentence because the jury had not been able to consider evidence that the murders were the result of sexual sadism, a psychiatric disorder. At a re-sentencing in 2000, the jury rejected the sexual sadism claim as a mitigating factor and once again sentenced Ross to death.

Ross, a graduate of Cornell University, has been diagnosed with mental illness by several mental health professionals, including the state's own psychiatrist, Dr. Robert Miller.

According to evidence presented at trial, Ross' childhood consisted of abuse from his mother. His siblings testified at trial that he often received the brunt of their mother's anger through physical and mental abuse. Ross' mother was institutionalized twice for issues pertaining to suicidal tendencies and for the abuse of her children.

One psychiatrist who evaluated Ross, Dr. Borden, stated, "All you have to do is look at the Norwich hospital records and right there in black and white they talked about the child abuse going on." Borden went on to note that there is reason to believe that the abuse was serious as it was rarely documented at that time.

After spending years trying to prove that he is suffering from a mental illness which he says drove him to rape and kill eight women in total, Ross now says he prefers to be executed. He believes it to be the least painful scenario for the families of his victims.

The execution of the mentally ill is a deplorable violation of international human rights standards. In April 2000, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights urged all states that maintain the death penalty "not to impose it on a person suffering from any form of mental disorder" and "not to execute any such person."

The Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles is not able to grant clemency because Ross has refused to file a clemency petition at this time. Please write to Governor Jodi Rell asking her to grant Mr. Ross clemency on the grounds that the execution of the mentally ill violates international human rights standards. Also urge her to consider granting this reprieve so that the Connecticut Legislature will have the opportunity to address the State's death penalty system during the 2005 legislative season.

To email a message to Governor Rell, please go to:,1282,-4764452,00.html

Conn. Serial Killer's Execution Delayed

Saturday January 29, 2005 3:16 PM


Associated Press Writer

SOMERS, Conn. (AP) - New England's first execution in 45 years was abruptly put on hold early Saturday after a federal judge reprimanded the serial killer's attorney, saying he was ``terribly, terribly wrong'' for trying to help end his client's life.

Michael Ross - who has asked to die and has dropped all appeals - was to be put to death by injection at 2:01 a.m. Saturday. But shortly after midnight, the execution was rescheduled for 9 p.m. Monday because Ross' attorney said he needed to address a possible conflict of interest.

The attorney, T.R. Paulding, would not say what he needed to consider, but noted that his client did not ask for the delay.

``I feel that it is imperative I take the appropriate steps,'' Paulding said. ``I will be taking those steps with all due diligence in the next two days.''

On Friday, the Supreme Court had rejected Ross' father's pleas to spare his son, clearing the way for the execution.

But Paulding's announcement came hours after a federal judge accused him of ignoring new information from another inmate and a prison guard who have said Ross only wanted to die because of deplorable death row conditions, according to records released by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Ross, 45, an Ivy League graduate who terrorized eastern Connecticut and New York in the early 1980s, has confessed to eight murders. He hired Paulding last year to help expedite his execution.

Ross' father and state public defenders took up his appeals, fighting against Ross' will to save his life.

Ross has said he decided to drop his appeals to spare the families of his victims additional agony. But U.S. District Judge Robert Chatigny said another inmate and a prison guard have indicated that Ross simply wanted to escape poor conditions on death row.

``I see this happening and I can't live with it myself, which is why I'm on the phone right now,'' Chatigny said in a telephone conference with Paulding, according to records. ``What you are doing is terribly, terribly wrong.''

Chatigny warned that Paulding could lose his law license if the new information proved true, according to court records.

``You better be prepared to deal with me if in the wake of this an investigation is conducted and it turns out that what Lopez says and what this former program director says is true, because I'll have your law license,'' Chatigny said.

Family members of his victims said they were shocked by the turn of events.

``He's guilty. He wants to die. So if he isn't executed, whom would you execute?'' said Lan Manh Tu, whose sister, Dzung Ngoc Tu, was Ross' first known victim.

Raymond and Ellen Roode, whose daughter, April Brunais, was killed by Ross, said they don't believe he will ever be executed.

``It's been 20 years for those girls who are in their graves,'' Ellen Roode said. ``It's too bad.''

The state must execute Ross by 11:59 p.m. Monday or its death warrant expires. That would force officials to go back before a judge and ask for a new one.

Death penalty opponents have warned that an execution in liberal New England could have a domino effect across the region.

``Part of me says it's a one-time thing, and we're not Texas,'' said Robert Nave, head of the Connecticut Network to Abolish the Death Penalty. ``However, I continue to think this will leave a psychic imprint on the collective psyche that says this wasn't so bad.''

Of the six New England states, only Connecticut and New Hampshire have the death penalty.

New Hampshire has not executed anyone since 1939 and does not have anyone on death row. Seven inmates are waiting to die in Connecticut, which conducted New England's last execution in 1960.

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Re: Stop New England's First Execution in 45 Years, scheduled for Monday in CT
31 Jan 2005
Michael Ross is not being executed any more, I heard it on the news this morning.
Re: Stop New England's First Execution in 45 Years, scheduled for Monday in CT
31 Jan 2005
so, he wants to die, but the most just thing to do is make him rot in prison? Who are you people to tell someone that, because they have been diagnosed with any sort of psychological disorder, they cannot make their own decisions? It's obvious that he wants to end his own suffering above all, and why not let him? I don't believe that one person should kill another unless it is either consensual or in self defense, and similarly that a government (though an inherently violent entity that will never cease killing), has no right to kill anyone without consent. The key phrase here is WITHOUT CONSENT.

in conclusion: you people are idiots
Re: Stop New England's First Execution in 45 Years, scheduled for Monday in CT
31 Jan 2005
Well, the execution has only been put off temporarily, till 9:00 pm tomorrow (Monday). Ross' lawyer announced that he has a conflict of interest (but not what that conflict of interest is) that no longer allows him to represent Ross. Without a lawyer, Ross cannot be legally executed. And the death warrant for Ross runs out at midnight tomorrow. So Ross still might be executed--or he might get a reprieve of some sort.

Check out the NYT article on the whole thing here: