Friday, November 16, 2007

Blaine Ross sentenced to death in 2004 beating death of parents



BRADENTON — Blaine Ross, who fatally beat his parents with a baseball bat in January 2004 and tried to cover up the crime, was sentenced to death this morning by Circuit Judge Edward Nicholas.

The death sentence is the first handed down in Manatee in about 20 years.

Ross was convicted earlier this year at trial, and a jury recommended he die for killing his parents, Richard and Kathleen Ross, who had been sleeping in their home in the Lionshead subdivision.

Prosecutor Art Brown said Ross killed his parents for monetary gain, planning to extract money from his mother’s bank accounts. The slayings were brutal, Brown said.

Ross’s attorneys said Manatee County sheriff’s detectives coerced Ross to confess to the crime and that Ross is mentally ill. Ross, the lawyers say, should not be executed because he has shown remorse.

His relatives, including his sister, have urged Circuit Judge Edward Nicholas to spare Ross’s life. Nicholas has been mulling the decision for months.

Just a few months ago, a jury recommended that Richard E. Henderson, convicted of killing his parents, brother and grandmother, be sentenced to life in prison for the quadruple-homicide. Prosecutors had been seeking the death penalty in that case.

In an unrelated murder case, Cliff Davis is awaiting trial in Bradenton on charges that he killed his mother and grandfather in December 2005. The state wants Davis executed for the murders.

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