BLAIR COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — Today was the tenth and final day of The Commonwealth vs. Paul Aaron Ross retrial. Ross was previously convicted on murder charges in the 2004 death of Tina Sabrina Miller.
After hearing closing arguments from the defense and prosecution this morning, the jury began their deliberation at 2 p.m. With about two weeks of evidence and testimony on their plate, a decision isn’t expected to come quickly.
Ross was granted a retrial in 2011, after defense attorneys appealed to the State Superior Court saying Ross didn’t receive a fair trial in 2005.
In their deliberation today, the jury will decide if Ross is guilty or not guilty on a number of charges. The biggest charge he faces is criminal homicide, in addition to aggravated assault, involuntary deviant sexual intercourse, unlawful restraint, simple assault, false imprisonment, and indecent assault.
The jury saw no further witnesses today and Ross chose not to testify for himself.
In their closing arguments, each party restated their key points of evidence.
The defense spoke first, led by Attorney Thomas Dickey. Attorney Dickey said they feel for what happened to Tina Miller, but asked the jury to look at the evidence fairly and without emotion.
The defense argued three shoe impressions found at the scene points to a third person involved and they cannot prove what style of shoes Ross was wearing; however, the prosecution says the shoe impressions from one of the soles was not near Miller’s body.
The cornerstone for the prosecution, led by Attorney Richard Consiglio, was the empty beer bottles surrounding Miller’s body, which had the same serial number as the one’s Ross purchased earlier that evening. The defense says those bottles didn’t have Ross’s or Miller’s DNA on them, and the prosecution says three experts testified the beer bottle is consistent with the damage to Tina Miller.
Additionally, the presence of p30, or seminal fluid, that was found on Miller’s gums and matched Ross’s has now been deemed presumptive, not confirmatory evidence.
In closing, Attorney Consiglio said, “Tina Miller’s soul has cried out for nearly 17 years for justice, and now you have the chance to give her justice.”
The verdict must be unanimous among the jury. If Ross is convicted, he may face the death penalty.