Moving On After Ross Murder Trial - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

12/18/06

Moving On After Ross Murder Trial

The most publicized murder and the biggest trial in Savannah this year has come to an end. A jury convicted the three men responsible for robbing and shooting 19-year-old Jennifer Ross.

But this isn't the end of Ross family's fight to combat the city's crime and the attorney's who represented the men on trial, they now have a new fight to appeal the convictions.

Michael Thorpe, Webster Wilson and Kevin Huckabee were sentenced to life in prison for their actions.

Jennifer's mother Coren fought for justice every step of the way. "It's the end of the legal process, the beginning of the rest of our lives," she said after the verdict on Saturday.

Attorney Richard Darden represents Thorpe, the man who actually shot Jennifer in the back. Darden said today, "Obviously I was disappointed, I put a lot of work into it. I accept the jury's verdict, I respect it and we'll go from here."

Darden said he plans to file a motion for a new trial right away. "I knew it would be a high profile case and it was a difficult case," he said.

His defense was to discredit all the prosecution's witnesses--the eye witnesses and the friends of Thorpe who are convicted criminals and who testified Thorpe bragged about shooting Ross.

None of the defense attorneys called any witnesses of their own. Not even character witnesses. Darden said there's a good reason for that, "If you do that you that then you are putting your client's character at issue and they can get into all his prior convictions and charges, so you can't do that."

Darden added, "if I tried the case tomorrow I would try it the same way. I would change nothing."

Darden is a very experienced criminal defense attorney, he has tried about 50 murder cases. "Somebody has got to do it. I enjoy it, it's a challenge. They have a right to be represented by an attorney, it's a challenge. At times I think this is it, no more, but I keep coming back," he said.

Coren Ross says she respects the criminal justice system and says this trial is an example of how well the system works. "We are forever grateful for the skill of the police officers, the detectives and the attorneys," she said.

Ross says she hopes everyone can now find some peace. She said she wants to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers. She hopes Savannahians continue to find solutions to combat crime and she hopes one day the men who killed her daughter understand what they've done.

Reported by Michelle Paynter, mpaynter@wtoc.com

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