Sunday September 24th, 2023 12:24PM

SCOGA: No new trial for Ross in Hall Co. Valentine's Day murder

By Staff
ATLANTA - The Georgia Supreme Court Monday morning issued a ruling that upholds the murder conviction and life prison sentence with no chance of parole for Lynitra Ross for her role in a Hall County murder on Valentine's Day 2010.<br /> <br /> In the opinion , written by Judge Harold Melton, the high court ruled that the evidence was sufficient to find Ross guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in the murder-for-hire of Richard Schoek. The justices rejected arguments by Ross' attorneys that cell phone records tying her to the crime should have been suppressed at trial. <br /> <br /> The court outlined the case in the Monday morning ruling:<br /> <br /> "According to the evidence, Richard Schoek's wife, Stacey Morgan Schoeck, worked with Ross at Georgia Spine and Neurosurgery Center, and the two were friends. Stacey was an office administrator and Ross was a medical assistant and billing coder. In January 2010, over lunch at a Mexican restaurant, Stacey told Ross she wanted to have her husband killed because she believed he was molesting her two young sons. Stacey had been married before and Richard had adopted her children after they married. (She later told police her husband had not been molesting the children.) Ross replied that her boyfriend might be willing to commit the crime for money. Ross then asked Reginald Coleman if he would kill Richard and he said he would. <br /> <br /> "Stacey and Ross subsequently met Coleman at his apartment where Stacey suggested that Belton Bridge Park in Hall County, near her grandparents' house, would be a good place to kill her husband. She later testified she informed Coleman that as payment, she could 'easily get $10,000 cash' for him, and would also give him her grandparents' 2009 Chevy Impala and the home she owned that his girlfriend, Ross, had been renting from her. <br /> <br /> "The threesome agreed the murder would take place on Valentine's Day and be staged to look like a robbery. Stacey then rode with Coleman to an ATM to get $600 for a gun that Coleman could use and then toss.<br /> <br /> "On Jan. 23, 2010, Stacey, Ross and Coleman rode together to Belton Bridge Park to conduct a dry run of the murder. Subsequently, a bill of sale for the Impala passed from Stacey to Ross. Stacey also transferred to Ross' account $8,900 with plans to make an additional $1,100 deposit before the murder.<br /> <br /> "On Valentine's Day, Feb. 14, 2010, Stacey and her husband drove in separate cars to Cleveland, GA, to visit her grandparents. The plan was that after the visit, the two would drive separately to Belton Bridge Park where they would exchange Valentine's Day cards. Richard left 45 minutes before Stacey. While she was still at her grandparents' house, Stacey got a call from Ross, saying Coleman needed the color of her husband's truck, which Stacey told her. Stacey later got a text message from Ross wishing her a 'Happy Valentine's Day,' indicating the murder had been completed. Stacey then left her grandparents' house and went to Belton Bridge Park where she found Richard's body and called 911, acting distraught.<br /> <br /> "At the scene, police found tire treads, which were later matched to tires belonging to the Impala that Stacey had given to Coleman. Based on other evidence, investigators believed Richard had gotten out of his car, walked toward a car he recognized, was shot, doubled over, then shot at closer range while on the ground. Valentine's Day cards were found in Richard's truck, along with cups and sparkling grape juice.<br /> <br /> "Investigators first came across the names of Coleman and Ross while using 'Cellbrite' software to extract data from Stacey's cell phone with her consent. From records they obtained, they found text messages between Ross and Stacey on the night of Richard's murder, as well as a phone call and earlier texts about the money transfer to Ross. Investigators then obtained a court order to obtain 'tower dump' records from two Sprint cell phone towers located near Belton Bridge Park, which contained records of any calls relayed through the towers around the time of Richard's murder. Those records revealed that at 8:40 p. m. on Feb. 14, 2010, a call was made from Coleman's phone to Ross's phone. Investigators then obtained phone records for both Coleman and Ross and found more phone calls and text messages among the three, as well as evidence of the money transfers and use of the car and home as payment for the murder." <br /> <br /> In June 2010, Stacey Schoek, Lynitra Ross and Reginal Colemsn were indicted in Hall County for the malice murder of Richard Schoeck. <br /> <br /> Stacey Schoek eventually pleaded guilty and testified for the State against Ross and Coleman. In May 2012, a jury found Ross guilty and she was sentenced to life without parole. Both Stacey and Coleman were also convicted separately and received the same sentence. <br />
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