January 23, 2008

Bill introduced into Indiana State Legislature would prevent a person who murdered his or her spouse from profiting from the death

Killer's Settlement Claim Catches Lawmaker's Attention
Daughter's Suicide Let Man Collect Money; Proposal Would Stop Other Such Cases

INDIANAPOLIS -- Because a man who killed his wife successfully claimed some money her family won in a related lawsuit, a state lawmaker is proposing a law that would prevent such claims in the future. The bill introduced by state Rep. Dennis Tyler, D-Muncie, would prevent a person who murdered his or her spouse from profiting from the death, Tyler said.
"There will no longer be any loopholes for them to profit from it," Tyler said.

The bill stems from the claim made by Tommy Ross, who was convicted in 1995 of killing his wife Paula Ross in Gaston in October 1994. Police said Paula Ross had just dropped off one of their daughters at Wes-Del Elementary School when Tommy Ross, whom she had divorced just one day earlier, shot her. Tommy Ross was sentenced to 60 years in prison and is serving his sentence in the Pendleton Correctional Facility.

In the late 1990s, a judge ruled the Gaston Police Department didn't do enough to protect Paula Ross, so her parents and two daughters were awarded a financial settlement from the city.
In 2005, Tommy and Paula Ross' oldest daughter committed suicide, opening the door for Tommy Ross to claim part of the daughter's estate, which includes money awarded in the settlement. "(Tommy Ross) put his children in a terrible position where they have to be raised without their mother or their father, and then comes back and wants a share of the child's estate," said Jack Quirk, an attorney for Paula Ross' family. In a statement given to WRTV-6News, Juanell Arbogast, Paula Ross' mother, said: "The fact that he and his attorneys benefited from his horrific crime is something no family should have to witness."

Tyler's bill is expected to clear the state House, Carmack reported. Tommy Ross is expected to be released from prison in October 2023.

POSTED: 11:53 pm EST January 22, 2008
UPDATED: 1:12 pm EST January 23, 2008

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