Bill Ross Murder: Killers Kimberly Ross, Justin Young, and Ashley Are in Prison

Investigation Discovery’s ‘Does Murder Sleep? To Kiss or Kill’ chronicles how 40-year-old Bill Ross was brutally murdered in his sleep in his Shelbyville, Tennessee, residence in the morning hours of 2007 Valentine’s Day. The authorities arrested the perpetrators within a couple of days with help from evidence left behind at the crime scene and confessions from the perpetrators. If you’re interested in learning more about the case, including the killers’ identities and current whereabouts, here’s what we know.

How Did Bill Ross Die?

William “Bill” Ross’ stepdaughter, Nicole Galloway, described her stepfather as a “really nice person” who would “do anything for anybody.” She recollected how her mother, born in Indiana, met Bill when they were kids. Bill’s niece, Amanda Inman, recalled how she visited her uncle’s home every weekend and stated him as her best friend. Bill and Kimberly Ann Ross were married for two years by 2007 and were described as a devoutly Christian family. Kimberly had two children from a previous marriage — Nicole and Travis Galloway.

Amanda stated how Bill would often fill the void because her father was always from home due to work. She added, “He was like a second dad to us. He would come in and check the fridge to see if we had food. If we didn’t have any, he would return an hour later with groceries without saying anything.” Hence, it came as a shock when two alleged unknown black male assailants broke into the Ross residence at 2213 Highway 64 East in Shelbyville, Tennessee, around 1:45 am on February 14, 2007, and shot Bill, 40, while he was asleep.

The Bedford County Sheriff’s Office responded to Kimberly’s 911 call and arrived at the scene with the officers from the Shelbyville Police Department. They entered the home through an open door on the left side deck to find Justin Paul Young, then 19, tied up and lying with his head and shoulders outside the doorway. His hands and feet were tied with bailing twine. They found Kimberly lying on the floor in a bedroom directly across from the dining room and kitchen area. She was also tied up with a black electrical cord and screaming for help.

Bill was lying on the floor beside the bed with a large amount of blood on and underneath his head. Although unresponsive to questions, he was alive as he groaned and struggled. He was shot thrice with a .380 caliber gun and declared dead around 3:17 am while flown to Bedford County Medical Center. His autopsy report located bullet wounds on his forehead just above his left eye, on the right side of his chest, and his left flank above the kidney. The officers found two .380 caliber shell casings lying on the bedroom floor.

Who Killed Bill Ross?

The investigators interviewed Kimberly and Justin, who parroted the same story — two black male assailants had broken into the house. They asked for Bill and Jimmy Whitmire (who resided with them in the past). Kimberly was asleep beside Bill, and Justin was sleeping in a bedroom opposite the house when the intruders broke in. They tied the mother-son (Justin was not the couple’s biological son) up before borrowing a gun from Bill’s weapon cabinet, shooting him thrice, before driving away with her 2007 gray Nissan Versa.

Kimberly Ross

However, suspicion arose when the detectives began spotting discrepancies in their stories, such as the description of the assailants and their attire. A breakthrough came when Bill’s sister, Tammy Ross, met with the investigators on February 19 and handed Kimberly’s cell phone. They found two incriminating text messages from Ashley Mai Cook, with one sent around 12:37 pm on February 14 that alleged Kimberly “told” on her and that she was going to jail for murder.

The second message was sent six minutes later and threatened that Ashley would tell everything if Kimberly did not help her. Suspecting Kimberly and Justin were lying to them, the detectives told them Bill was still alive and trying to talk with them. Faced with the lie, Justin revealed to the investigators Ashley was angry with Bill and Kimberly because they threatened to cut off her financial assistance. He alleged she broke into the house through a window before tying him and Kimberly up, shooting Bill, and fleeing with $30 and Kimberly’s vehicle.

Kimberly also narrated the same story to the police, claiming she lied at first because she was fearful for her life. The officers located Ashley’s trailer on South Cannon Boulevard, and she agreed to accompany them to the sheriff’s office for an interview. She initially stated her adopted brother, Justin, asked him to come to the house around 1:02 am and ordered her to drive off with Kimberly’s car. She claimed she drove to a church on Cannon and left the car there before returning to her trailer around 2:00 am.

Ashley Cook

However, Ashley changed her story when the investigators confronted her with the versions told by Kimberly and Justin. She claimed she had known the Rosses for the past four months, and Kimberly had been telling her for the last two months to kill Bill. According to Ashley, Kimberly informed her that Bill had been abusing and raping her, and she wanted him dead. Ashley even named her former girlfriend — Megan Jones — as a witness to Kimberly’s morbid plans. She alleged Kimberly asked them to kill Bill in exchange for her car and some cash.

In a detailed confession, Ashley told the officers Kimberly called her on February 13, 2007, and told her she would load the murder weapon for her. When Ashley arrived at the residence, Kimberly handed over the gun — a .380 Bersa pistol — and her vehicle keys. She alleged Justin was also a part of the sinister plot and left a ladder outside the window for her to climb and do the deed. He called her around 11:00 pm and then again at 1:00 am to signal her to come over and shoot Bill. After she fatally shot him, she tied Justin and Kimberly before fleeing.

Justin Young

In subsequent interviews, Justin also corroborated this version of events, confirming the abusive relationship between Bill and Kimberly and the premeditated nature of the murder plot. A search of Ashely’s trailer yielded the murder weapon and other incriminating items, such as surgical gloves. A firearms expert confirmed that the bullets recovered from the body matched the pistol found in Ashley’s possession. As a result, the trio were all charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.

Where Are Kimberly Ross, Justin Young, and Ashley Cook Now?

Ashley was convicted of conspiracy to commit first-degree premeditated murder and first-degree premeditated murder in November 2008. She received consecutive sentences of twenty years on the conspiracy charge and life imprisonment for first-degree murder. The 39-year-old is serving her sentence at the West Tennessee State Penitentiary and will be eligible for parole in 2066.

Kimberly pled guilty to first-degree murder and received a 60-year sentence in November 2007. The 64-year-old remains incarcerated at the West Tennessee State Penitentiary and will be released in 2059. Justin pled guilty to second-degree murder and was handed a 30-year sentence in October 2008. The 35-year-old is serving his sentence at the Hardeman County Correctional Facility and will be released in 2032.

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