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Archive for Thursday, March 17, 2005

Guilty verdict returned in Murray trial

March 17, 2005

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Thomas E. Murray said it himself when he talked to police: There's no perfect murder. The bad guy always gets caught.

Thomas E. Murray is led out of the Douglas County District Court in
Lawrence, Kan.

Thomas E. Murray is led out of the Douglas County District Court in Lawrence, Kan.

And this morning, after more than two full days of deliberation, a Douglas County jury found the Kansas State University English professor guilty of stabbing and beating his ex-wife to death in November 2003. It was a crime prosecutors called one of the most brutal in Douglas County's history-- one they argued Murray tried to plan perfectly and cover up.

The first-degree murder conviction came shortly after the jury convened at 9 a.m. today for its fourth day of deliberation.

Murray, 48, was charged with stabbing and beating Carmin D. Ross, 40, on Nov. 13, 2003, at her home northwest of Lawrence. Prosecutors allege he grew enraged when he learned Ross' fiance was moving temporarily from California to Lawrence -- and that Ross planned to later move to California with the couple's 4-year-old daughter.

In the minutes before jurors came in to deliver their verdict, Murray sat at the defense table reading the book "In Other Words." He gave no visible reaction after the verdict was read and was taken out of the courtroom by a deputy who held both of his arms as he walked.




Ross' family members sobbed and hugged each other as the verdict was read. They then went through the courtroom hugging prosecutors, police and other observers.

They also hugged and personally thanked some of the jurors.

"We thank you so much. It is bringing tremendous relief to our family," Danny Ross said. "It's given me a lot of faith in the judicial system that perhaps I didn't have before."

Assistant district attorney and special prosecutor Tom Bath, left,
hugs Judi Ross, mother of Carmin D. Ross after jurors found Tom E.
Murray guilty of the murder of Carmin Ross today in Douglas County
District Court. At far right is Carmin Ross's father Danny Ross.
Second from right is Carmin's sister Samantha Fabbri.

Assistant district attorney and special prosecutor Tom Bath, left, hugs Judi Ross, mother of Carmin D. Ross after jurors found Tom E. Murray guilty of the murder of Carmin Ross today in Douglas County District Court. At far right is Carmin Ross's father Danny Ross. Second from right is Carmin's sister Samantha Fabbri.

Two jurors who spoke after the verdict said there wasn't a single piece of evidence that caused them to convict Murray. Rather, it was the combination of all the circumstantial evidence in the case.

Asked for his thoughts about Murray, juror Ted Kihm said, "I feel sorry for him. I don't know that I even want to talk about him, really."

Kihm said jurors thought they had reached a decision last night but decided to sleep on it. He said he thought all jurors had some doubt about Murray's guilt, but not to the level of "reasonable doubt."

He said jurors reviewed the defense's case point-by-point and couldn't get any of the points to stick.

"They were contradicted by the evidence," he said.

Also, he said one of the key aspects of the deliberations was watching Murray's 9.5-hour statement to police.

Murray will be sentenced May 6, according to District Judge Robert Fairchild. Murray faces a sentence of life imprisonment, with the possibility of parole in 25 years.

K-State issued a statement after the verdict saying Murray's employment had been terminated.




For more on this story, check back later today, see the 6News reports at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Sunflower Broadband's channel 6 and pick up a copy of Friday's Journal-World.

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