Michael Ross will not be executed tonight:
State officials today canceled plans to execute serial killer Michael Ross after new evidence emerged that Ross’ attorney said raises questions about his competency. “Based on advice from both the chief state’s attorney and the attorney general that a legal impediment does now exist prohibiting the administration of capital punishment in the case of Michael Ross, the Department of Correction has canceled tonight’s scheduled execution,” said Brian Garnett, spokesman for the department. Ross would have been the first person in 45 years to be executed in New England. The execution was first scheduled for Wednesday and was postponed three times as new court challenges emerged. It was set for 9 p.m. Monday before being canceled. Officials will now have to go back before a state judge and obtain a new death warrant.
Ross had said for months that he would forgo any appeals of his death sentence and hired attorney T.R. Paulding to expedite his execution. That changed on Monday when Paulding filed papers in U.S. District Court questioning Ross’ competency. It’s unknown when those issues will be resolved. “He took a U-turn,” Chief State’s Attorney Christopher Morano said Monday. “And that is why we are doing what we are doing today.” Paulding’s motion was filed after months in which Paulding had maintained that Ross is mentally competent to forgo his appeals. “On Friday, new information was revealed to me that made me question Mr. Ross’ competency,” Paulding said. “The last 48 hours have reinforced my belief that the execution of Michael Ross should be delayed to determine whether he is competent. New and significant evidence has come to light that I simply cannot ignore.”