A Mind For Murder

Does A Beloved Professor Have A Mind For Murder?

This story was first broadcast on May 14, 2005.

When they talk about Carmin, the oldest of their four daughters, Danny and Judy Ross are never at a loss for words.

"She's bubbly, she's fun to be around. She makes the room warm. She's the sunshine," recalls Judy Ross, who even put together a list of words that come to her mind when she thinks of Carmin.

"Brilliant, empathetic, thoughtful, spiritual, patient, political, loving, peaceful, delightful, silly, playful, courageous," reads Judy. "Full of life -- daughter of our youth."

Looking back, Danny and Judy say their daughter's 1985 wedding to her sweetheart, Tom Murray, was one of the best days they ever had. "Both of them wrote their wedding vows," recalls Danny. "I stood there and cried through the whole thing."

Carmin met Murray at Ohio State University, but it wasn't a typical college romance. Carmin was a junior, and Murray was her English professor.

"I was hesitant, because I didn't know why a professor would be interested in one of his students," says Judy.

Murray was only 27, a first-year professor. But once Judy Ross met him, she says she was impressed: "He was very easy to talk to. Very proper. Good manners. Everything."

Carmin's three little sisters, Samantha, April and Heather, never had a brother, but they were delighted to have a brother-in-law.

"He was attending church with us. He didn't drink excessively. He didn't smoke. He exercised," Danny remembers. "He was polite all the time, around everyone, and I said, 'Tom, you're too good to be true.'"

In 1988, after Carmin graduated from law school, the couple moved to Manhattan, Kan., where Murray took a job teaching linguistics at Kansas State University. His colleague, Lyman Baker, says Murray made an immediate impression.

"A very gentle guy. A very good, very sharp mind," says Baker. "Personal, reasonable, good listener. He was serious, did his work. People really appreciated having a colleague like that."