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Killer urges judge to toss execution appeal

/ Source: The Associated Press

A confessed serial killer set to become the first inmate executed in New England in 40 years urged a federal judge Friday to dismiss efforts by the inmate’s father and a civil liberties group to spare his life.

“I don’t need anyone filing on my behalf,” Michael Ross told Judge Christopher Droney via closed circuit television from Osborn Correctional Institution in Somers. “I can file my own lawsuits if I wish.”

The Connecticut Civil Liberties Union and Ross’ father, Dan, argue Connecticut’s method of lethal injection amounts to cruel and unusual punishment, and violates international treaties on torture and civil rights. They also argue Ross is not competent to make his own decisions.

Droney is expected to issue a written decision next week on whether the lawsuit can go forward.

CCLU attorney Annette Lamoreaux argued if not administered properly, Ross’ anesthesia could wear off during execution, causing him to suffer excruciating pain. She introduced a report critical of Connecticut’s execution protocols and said Connecticut’s procedures do not even meet the standards of the American Veterinary Medical Association for euthanizing animals.

She said she was not challenging Ross’ right to accept execution.

“That’s not the same as agreeing to be subjected to extraordinary pain,” she said.

Prosecutors countered the report referred to by Lamoreaux concluded if the execution was carried out properly, it would be humane. They also noted a judge ruled last month that Ross is mentally competent.

Ross’ attorney, T.R. Paulding, said he does not expect his client to change his mind about going forward with the execution.

“A decision that takes 15 years to make, most people don’t change that decision in the 11th hour,” Paulding said.

Ross, 45, has admitted killing eight women in Connecticut and New York, and is on death row for the murders of four young women in eastern Connecticut in the 1980s. He also raped some of the women.

His scheduled Jan. 26 execution would be the first in Connecticut — and all of New England — since Joseph “Mad Dog” Taborsky was electrocuted in 1960 for a series of murders and robberies.