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Last Updated: Friday, 13 May, 2005, 09:59 GMT 10:59 UK
US executes killer eager to die
Michael Ross (file photo)
Serial killer Michael Ross insisted that he wanted to die
The US state of Connecticut has executed a serial killer in New England's first execution in 45 years.

Michael Ross, 45, had rejected attempts by death penalty opponents and even his own family to save his life.

Ross, who was on death row for 18 years, died at 0625 GMT after being given a lethal injection.

He murdered eight young women and raped all but one in Connecticut and New York during the early 1980s and insisted he wanted to die for his crimes.

The execution sparked controversy in Connecticut, where the death penalty is extremely rare.

Prayer protest

Up to 300 people, many reciting prayers, demonstrated against his death near the Osborn Correctional Institution, Reuters reports.

David Cruz-Uribe of the Connecticut Network Against the Death Penalty told the BBC's World Today programme that Ross' death would be a blow for the campaign.

I am glad we will never have to hear him again - I am glad that it is finally over
Lan Manh Tu,
Victim's brother

"We are going to become part of the problem by executing Michael Ross.

"It is going to set back the anti-death penalty movement in the US by a couple of years."

But inside the jail, the brother of one of Ross' victims said he felt relief.

"It is an ending. It may not have been the most satisfying ending but it is an ending of sorts," Lan Manh Tu said.

"I am glad we will never have to hear him again - being asked about his opinions or feelings. I am glad that it is finally over."

Shudder

Eyewitnesses described how the self-confessed serial killer remained still and silent as he was administered the injections of lethal drugs.

His eyes remained closed during the procedure, they said, adding that he shuddered and gasped only once.

Both his family and death penalty campaigners insisted he was suffering from "death row syndrome", becoming deranged after so many years awaiting execution.

On Thursday an appeals court and the US Supreme Court both rejected two final appeals to save Ross' life.

Last year, Ross said he was abandoning all remaining appeals to save his life for the sake of his victims' families.

"I owe these people. I killed their daughters. If I could stop the pain, I have to do that. This is my right," he said.

"I don't think there's anything crazy or incompetent about that."




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See video of Ross and the execution chamber



SEE ALSO:
US killer execution put off again
01 Feb 05 |  Americas
Last-minute stay of US execution
29 Jan 05 |  Americas
The man who wants to be executed
25 Jan 05 |  Americas


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