Coren Ross Wants Repeat Offenders - Like the Ones Accused of Murdering Her Daughter - To Stay Behind Bars - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

02/09/06

Coren Ross Wants Repeat Offenders - Like the Ones Accused of Murdering Her Daughter - To Stay Behind Bars

The Ross Family The Ross Family

The second man arrested for the murder of Jennifer Ross faced a judge today. Kevin Huckabee was arraigned on murder charges. Huckabee was already in jail for having the car used in Ross's murder. The judge denied bond.

Last week police arrested and charged their first suspect, Michael Thorpe, with murder. Huckabee and Thorpe's next court date is March 8th.

No one is watching the developments in this case closer than Jennifer Ross's mother, Coren Ross. She says she is happy police are getting her daughter's accused killers off the street. But that alone isn't enough. She wants them to stay behind bars. Both men charged with killing her daughter have long rap sheets and time and time again they've been allowed out of jail or prison and back into our neighborhoods.

Six weeks after Jennifer Ross was gunned down in Orleans Square, Coren Ross has found the strength to move forward and talk about the men who took her daughter's life. "I don't want another family to suffer as we are suffering," Ross said.

Police say the two men they've arrested thus far for Jennifer's murder--25-year old Michael Thorpe and 20 year old Kevin Huckabee--are career criminals.

Thorpe has been arrested eleven times before and a case just last summer where he was a key suspect in an armed robbery in Thunderbolt was thrown out. Huckabee just got out of state prison in June--he served two years for robbing someone.

"When they commit a minor crime and get put away for a little while it's just like sending them to grad school, you know. They go in there and hang out with people who did worse things than they did and they talk about that, then they are back on the streets with improved skills."

Coren says she can't help but wonder if her daughter would still be alive if these men were kept behind bars. "I mean you can't put someone away for life because they stole a loaf of bread. But I know things have to be done at an appropriate level but I mean yes, it infuriates me to think they've been caught so many times before and no one has been able to keep them from doing more harm."

She doesn't profess to know what the solution is--more prisons, bigger jails or tougher laws. But fighting for change is what keeps her going. "We know Jennifer's life was not lived in vain, we just want to make sure he death was not in vain," Ross said.

Coren Ross admits her daughter's death is what motivated her to fight for justice and she says she will continue to long after Jennifer's killers are convicted and sentenced. She says she doesn't ask herself why did this happen, because there is no answer. Instead she asks herself, what can she do to keep it from happening to someone else.

Ross told us, "Even knowing as little as I do about what goes on in the criminal world I know recidivism is the biggest problem."

Reported By: Michelle Paynter; mpaynter@wtoc.com

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