Whether Michael Ross will be executed by the state tonight remains unclear:
Defense attorney T.R. Paulding said Sunday that he has no plans to stop representing serial killer Michael Ross, a decision that state officials said keeps Ross on track to be executed Monday night. Paulding abruptly halted Ross’ planned execution early Saturday, saying he had to consider whether he had a conflict of interest in the case. “I have no intention of leaving the case,” Paulding said in a brief interview Sunday with The Associated Press. If Paulding had dropped off the case, state officials have said it would have further delayed the execution. State officials said the execution, which would be the first in New England since 1960, was still scheduled for Monday at 9 p.m. “We’re sticking with that schedule,” Chief State’s Attorney Christopher Morano said. “We will be there prepared to carry out the court’s order on Monday.”
Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said state lawyers have worked through the weekend preparing to contest last-minute appeals from outside groups. Such appeals, filed over Ross’ objection, have delayed the execution for almost a week. “Assuming he has made this decision and the last legal impediment has been removed, the criminal justice process should go forward on Monday evening,” Blumenthal said. Paulding, who was hired to help Ross end his appeals and accept the death penalty, asked that the execution be delayed Saturday morning after U.S. District Judge Robert Chatigny accused him of not adequately investigating claims that Ross was mentally incompetent to make the decision to die. Chatigny castigated Paulding for not investigating new evidence in the case. The evidence, including accounts from another inmate and a retired deputy warden, have indicated that deplorable conditions on death row may have influenced Ross’ decision.