Archive for Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Murderer eligible for parole hearing

October 20, 2004

A Lansing man who's spent the past 24 years in custody is eligible for a parole hearing soon.

James Ruby, 45, who is being held at Larned State Hospital, was convicted in October 1980 in the murder and rape of a 16-year-old Lansing girl in August 1979. Her body was found several weeks after her death, in a shallow grave on "Billy Goat Hill," which is the Angora Heights area in Leavenworth.

According to officers involved in the case, Ruby's brother and another man also were convicted in the case. The other man died in prison and Ruby's brother has been released.

The case still is fresh in Jim Sotomayor's mind.

"That's one of those cases that I'll probably remember forever," said Sotomayor, who was a Leavenworth police detective in 1979.

Sotomayor said 16-year-old Jo Story lived in Leavenworth, but stayed at a Lansing mobile home park at times.

"The story we got was that they'd gone out in the woods for something," the former detective said.

There, James Ruby and E.J. White had "a sexual encounter" with Story.

"I can't necessarily say it was rape, because we couldn't determine that," Sotomayor said. "Shortly after that occurred, Ruby wanted to find out what it felt like to kill somebody, so he shot her."

The girl was shot in the head. And then White hit her in head with a shovel, Sotomayor said.

"And then they buried her right where they shot her," the former detective said.

About two weeks later, Sotomayor received an anonymous telephone call about Jo Story's murder.

"The fella said he'd heard something that he couldn't live with," Sotomayor said.

Sotomayor, along with a Kansas Bureau of Investigation agent and another police detective discovered her body.

As officers were about to arrest Ruby, he shot himself.

"Right in front of me, he pulled this pistol and put it to his temple and pulled the trigger," Sotomayor recalled.

But the bullet didn't penetrate bone.

Ruby was taken to the University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City, Kan.

"Within three days, he was trying to escape from there," Sotomayor said.

Sotomayor, who now works in the engineering department at Cushing Hospital, has a clear opinion about Ruby, whose projected release date is Dec. 1.

"I'd really hate to see him get out on parole," he said. "There was no sorrow. Nothing there. All he was worried about was himself. He had no remorse."

The Kansas Parole Board will conduct public comment sessions next week on Ruby's parole, along with three other people who were convicted in Leavenworth County.

The three other inmates are:

  • Carle E. Cook, convicted on a charge of aggravate battery against a law enforcement officer and convicted in Wyandotte County on a charge of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, being held at El Dorado Correctional Facility.
  • Curtis Lee Bentley, on a charge of aggravated battery against a law enforcement officer, also convicted in Douglas County on a charge of aggravated battery, in Reno County on a charge of aggravated sodomy and in Ellsworth County on a charge of aggravated battery, being held at Ellsworth Correctional Facility.
  • Adrian C. Washington, on a charge of aggravated battery, also convicted in Shawnee County on charges of first-degree murder, rape and aggravated burglary, being held at Lansing Correctional Facility.

Comment sessions will be 10 a.m. to noon Monday at City Hall, 701 N. Seventh, Kansas City, Kan.; and 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Oct. 29 in Landon State Office Building, 900 S.W. Jackson St., Topeka. Or people may write the parole board, Landon State Office Building, 900 S.W. Jackson St., Room 452-S, Topeka, 66612-1220.

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