Judge's Ruling Clears Way for Ross Execution

Removing a major hurdle to what would be New England's first execution in 45 years, a Connecticut judge ruled Friday that serial killer Michael Ross (search) is mentally competent to abandon any death row appeals.

"Michael Ross, a competent individual, has the right to make this voluntary decision concerning whether to pursue any further appeals regardless of what others may feel about his decision," Superior Court Judge Patrick Clifford (search) wrote.

Chief State's Attorney Christopher Morano said the state "will proceed in accordance with today's decision to carry out the sentence."

Ross, 45, is scheduled to be die by lethal injection on May 11. He has admitted killing and raping eight young women in Connecticut and New York in the early 1980s.

The judge's ruling came after a five-day competency hearing in which psychiatrists gave conflicting assessments of Ross' mental competence.

The decision is expected to touch off another flurry of appeals. Ross fought off attempts to stop his execution last year and came within hours of death in January. His attorney asked for a new competency hearing only after being chastised by a federal judge for helping Ross hasten his execution.

At the competency hearings, some experts said Ross suffers from a narcissistic personality disorder that forces him to make decisions that make him look good publicly. They said they believe he is incapable of choosing to live because looking cowardly would be a blow to his ego.

Others said they believe Ross insistence that he is genuinely sorry for the pain he caused and does not want to force the families to sit through years of court battles and news coverage.

The last execution in New England was in 1960, when Joseph "Mad Dog" Taborsky (search) went to the electric chair in Connecticut.