Murder conviction upheld

October 01, 1997

A Maryland appeals court has upheld the conviction of a Hagerstown man who murdered his estranged wife in 1995.

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals on Monday rejected the appeal of James Ira Ross Jr., who argued that Washington County Circuit Judge Frederick C. Wright III erred during the trial.

Ross' appeal argued that:

* That the court failed to properly instruct the jury on the meaning of premeditation.

* That the evidence was not sufficient to convict him of first-degree murder and assault with intent to murder.

* That the court improperly allowed into evidence a statement he made to police regarding a man whom he believed was having an affair with his wife.

The court rejected all counts.

On Nov. 28, 1995, Ross fatally shot his estranged wife, Dorothy "Dolly" Ross.

The appeal relied in part on a 1992 case. The appeal cited that case in arguing that the judge did not sufficiently explain the conditions needed to commit premeditated murder.


After reviewing the case, though, the appeals court determined that Wright's explanation did meet the legal standard.

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