Grand Jury declines to indict Burnside man for July shooting

Submitted

Bobby Ross poses with his fiancee and his legal team after learning Wednesday that the Pulaski County Grand Jury declined to indict him in regard to a July 2 shooting. Pictured from left are attorney Kerri N. Bartley, Ross and his fiancee Cathy Cooper, attorney Jeremy A. Bartley, legal secretary Whitney Marcum, and attorney Jamie Deaton.

The case against a Burnside man accused in the fatal shooting of one man and the wounding of another last month has been dismissed.

The Pulaski County Grand Jury returned a "No True Bill" Wednesday morning for 65-year-old Bobby Ray Ross -- meaning they did not find enough evidence to charge him in connection to an incident occurring the night of July 2 in the Sloans Valley community of southern Pulaski County.

The Pulaski County Sheriff's Office (PCSO) reported at the time that a neighborhood dispute which occurred outside the parties' homes on Incline Road had led Ross to shoot brothers Estle "Toby" Ridner, 47, and Danny Ridner, 45.

Toby Ridner died at the scene while his brother suffered wounds to the hand and leg.

Ross had been additionally charged with wanton endangerment because Sharlene Helton, 46, and Tony Ridner, 43, (also brother to the shooting victims) had also been in the vicinity when the shots were fired.

Ross retained Somerset attorneys Jeremy A. and Kerri N. Bartley to represent him. According to a press release from the Bartleys, Ross testified before grand jurors that he acted in self-defense. The release stated that "Ross had been threatened after his neighbors discovered someone had called the Drug Task Force about a suspected meth lab on the neighboring land. Mr. Ross maintained that three men came onto his property and were armed with what he thought to be machetes" -- one of which had been found by detectives.

Ross further told the grand jury that he fired a warning shot and the men kept coming, according to the release.

"Conventional wisdom would say that sending your client to testify in front of the grand jury is a risky maneuver, but we believed strongly in Mr. Ross's case," Mr. Bartley said following return of the Grand Jury's verdict. "Bobby defended himself from three men who would've hurt him, if not killed him. He has remained consistent and upfront about what happened. We are so thankful that the Grand Jury was able to see the truth."

Ross expressed his appreciation for the work of his attorneys and the fairness of the Grand Jury, but was quick to add his regret over the shooting.

"No one ever wants to have to hurt someone," he said, "but my family, including my three-year-old grandson, was at my house. I had no choice but to defend myself and my family."

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