American serial killer Michael Bruce Ross was born on July 26, 1959, in Putnam, Connecticut to mother Patricia Hilda Laine and his father, Dan Graeme Ross. He was the oldest of four children including younger sisters and a brother. Michael grew up in Brooklyn, Connecticut on a chicken farm with an extremely dysfunctional family where his mother had abandoned their family once and was also institutionalized. Patricia would beat all of her children and beat him the worst out of everyone.
A few of his family/friends mentioned that his teenage uncle had molested Michael and committed suicide when Michael was six-years-old. Michael excelled in school, graduating in 1977 from Killingly High School in Killingly, Connecticut and then from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York in May 1981. Michael was very antisocial from childhood and became an insurance salesman. He stalked females during his sophomore year in college and continued to do so during his senior year as well. He raped his first victim when he was a senior, and his first murder followed soon after.
Michael was the first person ever to be executed in/by the state of Connecticut and New England since 1960, and he was the last person to be executed in Connecticut before the state repealed capital punishment in 2012. Michael was executed by lethal injection on May 13, 2005.
Michael murdered eight females (raped seven of his eight victims) between the age of 14 to 25 from 1981 to 1984 in Connecticut and New York. It was assumed/alleged that he raped 21-year-old Vivian Dobson in 1983 but did not kill her like his other victims.
Plainfield police did not think that Michael Ross was the person who raped Vivian Dobson and did not press charges nor did Michael confess. Michael, however, confessed to murdering the eight victims and was convicted upon the trial of murdering his last four victims. Michael was sentenced to the death penalty on July 6, 1987, and was on death row for 18 years until his execution date.
1981, May 12: Dzung Ngoc Tu (25-years-old) - Cornell University student
1982, January 5: Tammy Williams (17-years-old) - Brooklyn, Connecticut
1982, March 1: Paula Perrera (16-years-old) - Wallkill, New York
1982, June 15: Debra Smith Taylor (23-years-old) - Griswold
1983, October 23: Robin Dawn Stravinsky (19-years-old) - Norwich
1984, April 22: April Brunais (14-years-old) - Griswold
1984, April 22: Leslie Shelley (14-years-old) - Griswold
1984, June 13: Wendy Baribeault (17-years-old) - Griswold
Michael met his fiancee, Susan Powers who is from Oklahoma while he was incarcerated but she broke up with him in 2003. Susan remained in contact with Michael and visited him until his execution. He was arrested in 1984 and soon after became a devoted Catholic who met on a regular basis with two priests throughout the years. He prayed with the rosary every morning. Michael learned a lot while in prison such as being able to translate Braille, acted as a big brother to inmates. He also sponsored an impoverished child from the Dominican Republic while imprisoned.
Michael was against the death penalty, but he supported his death sentence during his last year alive because he said that he did not want to cause his victims families any more pain.
Michael Ross father asked for a two-day delay of Michael"s execution pushing forward the date to be January 29, 2005, instead of January 26, 2005. He was scheduled to die at 12:01 a.m on January 29, 2005, by lethal injection. His execution was once again changed to another date because there were doubts that Michael was mentally competent. Michael"s attorney said that Michael was incompetent to waive appeals and that he was suffering from death row syndrome, so his new execution date was on May 13, 2005, at the Osborn Correctional Institution in Somers, Connecticut.
Michael did not request any special last meal and ate whatever the prison served that day which was turkey a la king with rice, mixed vegetables, white bread, fruit, and a drink. He was 45-years-old and did not make a last statement before his execution. Michael was pronounced dead at 2:25 a.m. and his remains were buried in Redding, Connecticut at the Benedictine Grange Cemetery.
Dr. Stuart Grassian who was the psychiatrist that said that Michael Ross was not competent to waive appeal received a letter from Michael after his execution. The letter was dated May 10, 2005, and read "Check, and mate. You never had a chance!"
Michael Ross execution was the 22nd execution in the United States in 2005, and he was the 966th person to be executed in the United States since 1976.
Title: The Man in the Monster: An Intimate Portrait of a Serial Killer
Published by: Penguin Press, August 4, 2014
Author: Journalism professor Martha Elliott
A Radiotopia podcast on crime
Episode 34: The Stay.