Archive for Saturday, November 6, 2004

Grandparents gain custody of child

Slaying victim’s ex-husband, charged with murder, drops challenge

November 6, 2004


A child-custody challenge between the parents of a slain Douglas County woman and the woman's ex-husband -- who's charged with her murder -- is finished for now.

A judge on Friday granted the parents of Carmin D. Ross guardianship of their 5-year-old granddaughter, Ciara Ross-Murray. The order came after Ciara's father, Kansas State University professor Thomas E. Murray, 48, withdrew his request for a hearing to present evidence challenging whether the grandparents are proper guardians.

The grandparents, Danny and Judi Ross, of Lapel, Ind., became Ciara's guardians last month after Murray was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Ross, who was found stabbed Nov. 14, 2003, at her home northwest of Lawrence.

The hearing had been scheduled for two hours Friday. But after deputies brought Murray from jail to the courthouse, attorneys for both sides settled the matter without a hearing, said Terrence J. Campbell, an attorney representing the Rosses.

It was a relief for the Rosses, who had driven to Lawrence from Indiana on Thursday.

"They were pleased to have it resolved," Campbell said. "We would anticipate that if Mr. Murray is acquitted, he would seek to remove the guardianship."

Campbell also said Friday that the Rosses planned to seek child-support payments from Murray, who was placed on leave with pay from K-State.

Ciara is living in Indiana with her grandparents and attending kindergarten, Campbell said.

Murray, who was arrested after an 11-month investigation, is being held with bond set at $750,000.

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