Kansas State University English professor Thomas E. Murray walked into a Douglas County courtroom in shackles this afternoon to face charges that he murdered his ex-wife last November at her home north of Lawrence.
"This is State vs. Thomas E. Murray," District Court Judge Robert Fairchild said, beginning a first-degree murder case that will involve 1,700 pages of documents and more than 340 witnesses.
Murray, 48, Manhattan, didn't say a word during the 15-minute first appearance. His retained attorney, Pedro Irigonegaray of Topeka, waived a formal reading of the murder charge.
Prosecutors allege Murray killed Carmin D. Ross, 40, last Nov. 13 at her home at 1860 East 1150 Road near Lakeview Lake.
Irigonegaray asked for Murray's bond to be reduced from $1 million to $100,000, saying his client has a long history in Kansas and no criminal history. Irigonegaray said Murray's first concern after being arrested this morning in Manhattan was whether he could see his kindergarten-aged daughter. Ross and Murray had joint custody of the girl and were in mediation to resolve a custody dispute at the time of Ross' death, according to court records.
Dist. Atty. Christine Kenney said her office will ask that, if Murray makes bond, he be ordered not to have contact with any witnesses, including his daughter.
Fairchild scheduled a bond hearing for 2:30 p.m. Thursday.