A Jefferson Parish jury on Thursday (Nov. 2) found Charles Ross guilty of murdering his ex-girlfriend in her Metairie apartment while her special needs daughter watched.
Ross, 45, robbed a man of his pickup truck in Baton Rouge and drove to the 100 block of Houma Boulevard, where at about 3 a.m., on June 3, 2021, he kicked open Nygia Lambert’s apartment door and shot her eight times as she hid under her bed pleading for her life.
Lambert’s 24-year-old daughter locked herself in the bathroom and called 911, telling the operator, “Mr. Ross killed my mom.” Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies found Lambert’s lifeless, naked body. She was 47, the mother of five daughters and the grandmother of one child.
For that, he was convicted as charged of first-degree murder. The District Attorney’s Office did not seek the death penalty, meaning life in prison is the mandatory punishment. Jurors also found Ross guilty of attempted obstruction of justice, for fleeing with the murder weapon.
A convicted felon who served time in prison for beating a previous girlfriend and was legally barred from possessing firearms, Ross armed himself with a 9mm semiautomatic pistol and carjacked a man in Baton Rouge. He succeeded in eluding police officers who pursued him.
In testimony Thursday, Ross told jurors that upon learning Lambert ended their relationship, he went on a cocaine binge. From the witness stand, he openly admitted he killed Lambert. His attorneys asked jurors to consider convicting him of manslaughter, a lesser homicide that carries a punishment of up to 40 years in prison and involves a killing “committed in sudden passion or heat of blood immediately caused by provocation sufficient to deprive an average person of his self-control and cool reflection.”
However, the state argued that Ross’ actions bely that of manslaughter. His text messages show that a full 12 hours before he killed Lambert, Ross told another woman that, “I’m going to f— this girl up.”
When Louisiana State Police arrested Ross in Baton Rouge, he was in possession of the murder weapon and the keys to the pickup truck he stole.
The jury that was selected on Tuesday deliberated about 1 ½ hours Thursday before returning with its verdicts. Judge Stephen Grefer of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Ross on Nov. 13.
Assistant District Attorneys Rachel Africk and Blaine Moncrief prosecuted the case.