The woman accused of stabbing her husband to death at the Tioga Hotel pleaded not guilty Friday to charges of second-degree murder with an enhancement for use of a deadly weapon.
Courtney Ross, 32, made her first in-person appearance at the Merced County Superior Court wearing a yellow jailhouse jumpsuit and a bandage on her right hand. She had briefly appeared in court Wednesday via a live video feed at the Merced County Jail, where she’s being held without bail.
The hearing-impaired defendant communicated through a sign language interpreter. The defendant broke into tears as she communicated with her attorney, John Garcia, minutes before her arraignment.
Merced police say the defendant stabbed the victim to death after an argument.
Officers responded to the 1715 N. St. hotel about 1:20 a.m. Monday after someone called the police. The victim was found with three stab wounds to the upper torso and pronounced dead at the scene.
Merced police earlier this week confirmed the defendant’s husband had a history of domestic violence and had served time in jail.
Garcia, who’s taking the case pro-bono, said he has received the preliminary reports but is awaiting others. There are also out-of-state witnesses whose names and addresses are being compiled, he added.
Garcia said his staff has reasons to believe that there are records showing the Jonathan Ross was previously arrested for spousal battery against the defendant.
On the night of the stabbing, Courtney Ross had bruises on both of her shoulders and cuts to her hand, he said, and had X-rays taken for possible broken fingers.
“We are trying to work as expeditiously as possible. My client is incarcerated and if she doesn’t deserve to be there, we don’t want to keep her there any longer,” Garcia said.
He said he believes his client’s actions were justifiable and that the facts will show it.
Watch the DA try to turn abusive hubby into an innocent victim.