Ross Family Keeps Daughter's Memory Alive - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Ross Family Keeps Daughter's Memory Alive

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SAVANNAH, GA -

It was a crime that devastated a Savannah family and brought claims of racism to the spotlight.
This Christmas Eve will mark the 8th year since Jennifer Ross was shot in downtown Savannah.
Her parents have found the strength to go on by helping others in their daughter's memory.  
I recently spent time with Coren Ross to see how the family is doing.
"Oh it looks like somebody's been to visit. 
that's a little special gift there from somebody."
Several times each month Coren Ross comes to Bonaventure Cemetery where all of her dreams for her daughter Jennifer ended. 
It's a ritual to tidy up a bouquet of in memory of Jennifer's Debutante reception.
Christmas Eve 2005 the 19-year-old was welcomed to society at Savannah's Christmas Cotillion, a formal Debutante Ball.
"Rusty and I were sound asleep thinking this had been you know the most wonderful night because they had danced together, and you know it was just so special.  It was such a beautiful evening."
After the Ball Jennifer and friends walked into danger as they crossed Orleans Square in Downtown Savannah.
Court testimony revealed 3 men were waiting to rob someone.
"They had knocked out that light bulb and so they were standing here in the dark, and they had been watching another couple."
"They got up to this triangular area and that was where these guys came out and accosted them."
Brett tried to basically shield Jennifer and while they were taking her purse from her and her he was pistol whipped for his troubles."
Coren says Jennifer then confronted the robbers.
"And just was you know apparently being very very direct and saying she wanted her purse back and leave them alone ,and then she turned back to Brett and that's when she was shot in the back."
Surviving surgery Jennifer still faced an uncertain future
One can only wonder how they felt when they saw their daughter.
"You know you're a wonderful daughter, and we're so glad that you're gonna be better.  Thank you mom and dad I love you so much.  I know this sounds so odd, but it was magic."
The Ross's hoped Jennifer would go home again.
"In the week that she spent in the hospital they repaired everything that they knew about, but they didn't know about this one nick and as the steroids that had eventually caused her body to swell and self tourniquet if you will.  as the steroids began to release from her body the blood vessel just leaked and there wasn't anything they could do and she died."     
Jennifer never got a chance to give police a description of the suspects.
8 years later, Coren and Rusty celebrate her life through helping others.
Coren designed a Respite Center at Memorial Medical Center.
It offers families a comfortable place to rest.
On a crusade for the living... Coren volunteers with Chatham County's Victim Witness Program.
"I'm available to consult, or visit , or you know sit in the courtroom or do whatever would be helpful."
inspired by infinite love the Ross's will is to keep Jennifer's memory alive.
As they remember…..
"Ff the bad world the loveliest and the best has smiled and said good night and gone to rest."
 Jennifer's friend Brett recovered from his injuries. 
Michael Thorpe, Kevin Huckabee, and Webster Wilson, went to trial in 2006 and were convicted of killing Jennifer Ross.
Each received life sentences, but all 3 could be up for parole in 7 years.
 The Ross's say-- this is not what life in prison means-- and they will continue to fight for Jennifer's Justice.

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