Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Michael Bruce Ross: Staring Death in the Face

Michael's Murder Rampage

Elliott stated that following the murder of Dzung, Michael tried to kill himself but that he didn't because he "was too chicken to do it." He further claimed that Michael tried to convince himself that he would never hurt another person ever again, yet by that time his compulsions had gotten the better of him. Michael was a man out of control and on the verge of a murderous rampage.

Tammy Williams, victim
Tammy Williams, victim

On January 5, 1982, Michael abducted 17-year-old Tammy Williams while she was walking home from her boyfriend's house in Brooklyn, Connecticut. She was later found raped and strangled not far from where she disappeared. Michael was never suspected in the case and thus had the freedom to continue his killing spree, which resulted in the murder of Paula Perrera approximately two months later.

In April 1982 Michael struck again, this time in Croton, Ohio close to where he had found a new job at a local egg farm. At around midnight on April 2nd, Michael went to the home of a pregnant off-duty policewoman, claiming that his car broke down. He asked for a flashlight, which the woman supplied him with and Michael left allegedly to fix his car.

Debra Taylor, victim
Debra Taylor, victim

Michael returned a short while later asking if he could use the woman's telephone. James suggested that he spoke briefly with the woman and told her his name and where he worked. After gaining the woman's confidence, Michael attacked her.

The woman put up a courageous fight and managed to scare Michael off. She then promptly called her co-workers who rushed to her assistance. After receiving a description of the assailant, his name and where he worked, the police were able to locate Michael the next day. He was immediately arrested and charged with assault. According to Michael Newton's book, The Encyclopedia of Serial Killers, he was bailed out of jail by his parents a little more than a month later and "sent home to Connecticut for 16 days of psychiatric study."

Wendy Baribeault, victim
Wendy Baribeault, victim

The psychiatric reports showed that Michael was indeed suffering from psychological problems, which he blamed on the 1981 divorce of his parents. Surprisingly, even though he had a criminal record including two sexual offenses, there was little action taken to ensure that he remain under constant psychiatric evaluation or police surveillance. This allowed Michael the freedom to carry on with his murder rampage.

On June 15, 1982, Deborah Taylor, 23, and her husband ran out of gas near Danielson, Connecticut and spilt up to look for a filling station, Newton reported. While she was walking on the side of the road, Michael abducted, raped and strangled her. Newton said that a jogger found her skeletal remains approximately four months later. Michael was not initially suspected but he would later be linked to the case.


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