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It's Time for Me to Die
by Michael Ross

Intro | What's It Like to Live on Death Row? | Insanity and Physiology | Persecutor as Victim | Execute the Legally Insane?

My name is Michael Ross, and I am a serial killer responsible for the rape and murder of eight women in Connecticut, New York, and Rhode Island. I have never denied what I did, have fully confessed to my crimes, and was sentenced to death in 1987. Now, however, I am awaiting a new sentencing hearing -- ordered by the Connecticut State Supreme Court -- that will result either in my being re-sentenced to death or in multiple life sentences without the possibility of release. The crucial issue in my case is, as it has been from the beginning, my mental condition at the time of the crimes -- the infamous and much maligned "insanity defense." For years I have been trying to prove that I am suffering from a mental illness that drove me to rape and kill, and that this mental illness made me physically unable to control my actions. I have met with little success.

I used to have a dream on a regular basis:

It's time for me to die. I know this because the warden is in front of my cell reading the death warrant to me and several guards are waiting to escort me to the execution chamber. They open my door and walk me into a room less than ten feet away. In the center of that room I see a large brown, wooden, very uncomfortable-looking chair with several leather straps. About ten feet in front of the chair is a cinder-block wall, with waist-high large windows running the length of the wall. I can't see through to the other side because of a set of Venetian blinds that are closed. On the other side of that wall are the official witnesses to my imminent execution.

I notice a large bay window. The side windows are wide open, and they have no bars. Outside it is an absolutely beautiful spring morning. The sunlight is streaming into the room, and I can see and hear the birds chirping outside. The guards walk me to the chair. I'm facing the witness chamber when the blinds are opened. My "official" witnesses are wearing little party hats, have party favors, and are laughing and drinking champagne. Confetti floats through the air.

The guards sit me down and strap me into the chair, but suddenly weightless I rise into the air, leaving my body behind as I float out the window and up over the prison. It's a bitterly cold winter evening, with no snow on the ground. I see a crowd of hundreds of people gathered at the front gate. They suddenly start counting down in unison just like it was New Year's Eve: Five... four ...three ... two... one. And they start cheering, shouting and hollering as the lights dim and flicker. There is a pause for thirty seconds, and then they cheer again as the electric chair releases its second discharge of death, causing the prison lights to dim and flicker once more.

When I first came to death row, I was pretty depressed and would spend most days on my bunk with the covers pulled up over my head. Each time I actually thought the dream was real until I saw the open bay window and told myself, "That's not right." Fortunately I no longer experience this vision -- very seldom anyway. Regular doses of the antidepressant Prozac keep me relatively stable.

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