Man accused of stabbing woman, putting body in dumpster pleads guilty

Credit: Montgomery County Jail

Credit: Montgomery County Jail

A man who prosecutors said stabbed his girlfriend and left her body in a dumpster behind her Kettering apartment building pleaded guilty to a murder charge, the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office said.

Terrel M. Ross, 38, is accused of stabbing 24-year-old Sierra Woodfork, a Springfield High School graduate, to death and then putting her body in a closet, a refrigerator and finally the dumpster.

Authorities responded on Jan. 18, 2020, to her Aberdeen Avenue apartment building when her body was discovered. An investigation led them to Ross who was charged in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court with murder, felonious assault, tampering with evidence and gross abuse of a corpse.

The prosecutor’s office said Ross pleaded guilty to a count of murder and two counts of tampering with evidence. There is no agreement on what sentence Ross will face, the prosecutor’s office said, and he is due back in court on Dec. 9 for a sentencing hearing.

Ross remains in the Montgomery County Jail on a $1 million bond, according to jail records.

The case worked its way through the justice system for two years before the plea was entered. A hearing on a motion to suppress evidence in the case was continued due to the coronavirus pandemic. That motion, which sought to stop prosecutors from using statements Ross allegedly made to police during their investigation, was mostly denied by Judge Steven Dankof earlier this year.

“During the interview, Mr. Ross was offered a break, given water and the detectives extended some measure of compassion to Mr. Ross when he cried or became emotional, giving him time to answer their questions,” court documents say.

The judge also ruled that prosecutors would be allowed to use a statement allegedly made by Ross after the interrogation.

“During the booking process, (a detective) remarked to a corrections officer that he couldn’t believe anyone could act normally with a dead body in a nearby refrigerator,” a court document says. “(The detective), unaware that the windowed door was opening and closing frequently, did not realize Mr. Ross heard this remark until Mr. Ross knocked on the window, motioned (the detective) over to him, and stated, ‘I heard what you said. I didn’t just watch movies. I ate food, too.’”

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