The mother of the woman who was slain by former state Rep. Steve Nunn said Friday her faith compels her to forgive him, but he is accountable to God’s and man’s laws.
Diana Ross delivered to Fayette Commonwealth’s Attorney Ray Larson an emotional two-page “impact statement” on the death of her daughter Amanda Ross.
It was her first public comment since Nunn pleaded guilty last month in Fayette Circuit Court to intentional murder with an aggravating circumstance in the Sept. 11, 2009, shooting death of Amanda Ross, his former fiancée.
Judge Pamela Goodwine sentenced Nunn, the son of the late Gov. Louie Nunn, to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
“My faith compels me to forgive Steve Nunn. Refusal to do so would harm only me,” Diana Ross wrote.
“My forgiveness does not excuse Steve Nunn from accountability to the laws of man or God’s law. The ultimate judgment of Steve Nunn for the murder of Amanda is not in my hands or the hands of this court. It is in God’s hands.”
Nunn’s plea put an end to a two-year legal case that had drawn the attention of the national media.
Amanda Ross, 28, was found shot while in the parking lot outside her home at Opera House Square townhouses in downtown Lexington. She was pronounced dead at University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital.
Nunn, 58, was arrested a few hours later.
Diana Ross, in her impact statement, said: “For me, words cannot adequately express the loss or devastation I am experiencing.”
“Amanda’s murder has affected every aspect of my life. Our family chemistry has been altered. She is gone from the lives of her sister and nephew; family relationships have forever been altered. It was not a bad dream or a nightmare. If it were we could perhaps escape it. It is the reality of the murder of my daughter.”
Diana Ross said Nunn laid in wait that morning to ambush her daughter.
“Her fate was sealed by his selfish and senseless act of personal terrorism. Steve Nunn took Amanda from me, from my family and from all those who loved her. He erased the promise of her life and the opportunities before her. He robbed Kentucky of one of its precious jewels.”
After the murder, the mother said, “I was paralyzed to the point of not being able to function on a daily basis. I remain impaired by the loss. Despite my desire to prevent it, the murder has changed me. The void that remains cannot be filled. I can’t escape the reality that the life we enjoyed will never return.”
She said she has been able to visualize the violence inflicted upon Amanda Ross by Nunn.
“I have asked myself about the last minutes of Amanda’s life. These thoughts are indeed nightmares without answers,” she wrote.
“Amanda was undoubtedly terrified during those final moments of her life as she struggled to live. Perhaps she was silently calling for me. She thought I could fix anything and make it better.
“I have been tormented by the question of what could I have done to protect Amanda from this? Only an abundance of God’s grace has brought me to accept that I cannot change what has happened.”
On the morning of her daughter’s murder, Diana Ross said, “I was working in my back yard. This just happens to be a few hundred yards from where Amanda was murdered.
“It was 9 a.m. that morning before I was told of Amanda’s murder.
“It was then I saw the horrible reality of this violent act in Fayette County’s morgue. It is an image that is now imprinted into my memory. Amanda had been placed on a table wrapped in a white sheet. She was cold and lifeless. Amanda’s remains were now ‘evidence.’
“I could only kiss her forehead to say goodbye. I did not get to hold her. She would be taken to Frankfort for an autopsy.”
The mother said she still cannot make sense “of an act that is senseless”
Shortly after the murder, the mother said, “Our family was resolved to remain vigilant to ensure that our system of justice did its job of fully enforcing the law and its penalties to hold accountable the person responsible for cutting Amanda’s life short. We have done this.
“I have not sought revenge; only justice. Judge Goodwine’s sentencing of Steve Nunn to life in prison, without the possibility of parole, is a just disposition. I accept this sentence as justice and thank the Commonwealth Attorney Ray Larson and his staff for their professionalism in the pursuit of justice.”
Diana Ross said her prayer is that Nunn’s sentence “will send a message that acts of domestic violence will be met with accountability and just punishment.”
Nunn’s attorney, Warren Scoville of London, was not available for comment. Neither was Larson.
Dale Emmons, a friend of the Ross family, said Diana Ross delivered her comments to Larson’s office and asked that they be filed with the court.
“Diana has demonstrated a remarkable amount of class and character in handling this,” Emmons said.