One Reporter’s Eyewitness Account of the Connecticut Execution

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By: Greg Smith

(AP) With a deep gasp for air and a body shudder, it appeared to be over. Michael Bruce Ross, inmate number 127404, was officially pronounced dead at 2:25 a.m. But by all accounts the convicted serial killer had passed on within seconds of the first of three chemicals entering his body through an intravenous line.

Few sounds could be heard among the 21 witnesses standing in a narrow observation room peering through a window into the execution chamber at Osborn Correctional Institution.

“Inmate Ross, do you have final statement?” came a disembodied voice over speakers mounted behind witnesses.

“No thank you,” Ross replied when a gooseneck microphone was bent towards his head by prison warden David Strange.

They were Ross’ last words.

For some witnesses the death of the serial killer was anticlimactic. There were no wailing cries of sorrow among witnesses invited by Ross. There were no yells or cheers among family members of some of his victims.

Through curtains separating media witnesses a woman could be heard saying, “oh, feeling some pain?” in a mocking tone. Someone else whispered it was too easy. But that was it.

Media witnesses strained to find signs of life in the 45-year-old who was strapped to a gurney with arms spread wide when curtains hiding the execution chamber were opened at 2:08 a.m.

Ross never opened his eyes and never gave any outward signs of life, until he uttered his last words.

He was covered with a white sheet to his chest and appeared resigned to his fate.

After a four-minute call to check for any last minute impediments to the execution, the Warden took his position against the wall with three other observers.

The curtains closed at 2:21 a.m. Months of legal battles to save Ross life ended in that instant.

Some of the family members of Ross eight victims said the death would provide them a sense of closure. They will cherish the fact there will be no more court appeals and no more Ross headlines.

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