Michael Ross was a life-insurance salesman with a lust for murdering young women. But when he was caught, it was he who wished for death...
Leslie Shelley and April Brunais, both 14, were best friends. They lived in Connecticut, US.
On Easter Sunday, 22 April 1984, the girls attended church. That afternoon, Leslie asked her dad if she and April could go to the pictures nearby. He agreed.
At 7pm Leslie called her dad to say they were on their way home, that April’s mum was driving them.
But, the girls hitchhiked instead. They never got home.
Leslie and April were two of a string of girls murdered in the area at that time. Sadly, they wouldn’t be the last.
Just two months later, in June 1984, Wendy Baribeault, 17, walked to a nearby convenience store in Lisbon, Connecticut. She never returned. Wendy was last seen walking along Route 12. Her body was discovered near the road two days later.
This time the police had a tip-off. A motorist had seen a man sitting in a blue compact car parked along Route 12.
The police’s first stop was the home of Michael Bruce Ross, 24. The life-insurance salesman lived at the centre of where women had either disappeared or bodies had been found.
Michael started confessing to killings…
But what made him a monster?
Born in July 1959 in Connecticut, Ross was raised on an egg farm. Reports suggest he was physically and emotionally abused by both parents. Helping out as a child, Ross had to strangle under-producing chickens.
In 1981, he graduated with a degree in Economics. Around the same time, his killing spree began – Ross raped and strangled most of his victims, often hitchhikers – and it continued for three years, until he killed his final victim, Wendy Baribeault.
In 1987, despite confessing to killing Dzung Ngoc Tu, 25, Tammy Williams, 17, Paula Perrera, 16, Debra Smith Taylor, 23, Robin Stavinsky, 19, plus April Brunais, Leslie Shelley and Wendy Baribeault, Ross was only convicted of four murders.
He was sentenced to death, and it was then that the details of April and Leslie’s deaths emerged…
Ross had picked them up and driven them to a secluded spot. He ordered Leslie into the boot, where she could hear April’s cries as he raped her. Brave Leslie yelled words of comfort to her friend as she was attacked. Ross then strangled April before killing her best friend.
Michael Ross spent almost 20 years on death row. He unsuccessfully appealed on a few occasions. So, he tried a different tack, instead pushing to be executed.
First, he had to prove he was sane enough to make the decision. In April 2005, a court hearing took place to decide if Ross was mentally competent to accept his execution.
A psychiatrist said Ross was a narcissist who had no empathy for the victims’ families. But Ross insisted he didn’t want to cause the victims’ families any further pain. That he wanted to die.
On 13 May 2005, Ross, 45, ate his final meal – turkey a la King with rice, mixed veg, white bread, fruit and a drink.
He was killed by lethal injection as several of his victims’ family members watched.