Convicted Killer Goes to Trial to Contest Sentence

LAWRENCE, Kan. — A man convicted in a high profile Lawrence murder case is now challenging his conviction.

Thomas Murray, once a K-State professor, is spending 25 years to life in prison for killing his ex-wife. His civil suit argues over technicalities with the DNA evidence and whether his defense attorneys at the time of his initial trial did enough to challenge that evidence.

Carmin Ross’ family are at the Douglas County Courthouse to support each other and send a message: they haven’t forgotten.

“It’s a shame we have to come back out here and go through this again but I wanted to make our presence known for the trial,” said Danny Ross, Carmin’s father.

In Nov. 2003, Carmin Ross, a Lawrence attorney and peace advocate, is found violently beaten and stabbed 13 times in her home. It took almost a year until police arrested her ex-husband, Murray. At the time of the murder the two were divorcing and battling for custody of their young child.

The trial in 2005 was incredibly high profile, the focus of a “48 Hours” TV special. But this new civil trial challenges some of the DNA evidence that helped convict Murray.

His new defense attorneys argue his attorneys in 2005 should have done more to contest the DNA evidence. However, he was also convicted based on internet searches about “how to kill someone” and that jurors thought he knew too much about the murder during his police interrogation.

Ross’ family says it’s incredibly difficult to go through this again.

“Going to hell the second time,” Danny Ross said, “and it’s painful that our legal system today may let him go because of a legal technicality. That doesn’t mean he’s not guilty, so it’s very difficult very difficult.”

Ross’ family members say this is the third time Murray’s appealed but the first time the appeal has been heard by the judge. They say the trial is a waste of taxpayers dollars. The civil trial is expected to last through the end of the week.

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