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Fernandez gets life for Ross murder

"Three men and one woman convicted of killing a South Whidbey man last October will spend between nine years and a lifetime in prison paying for their crimes.On July 27, a Cowlitz County jury found Angel Fernandez, Paul Sarkis, Jr., TaLee Coulter, and Jesse Osalde guilty of a number of crimes that contributed to the Oct. 10, 1999, death of 24-year-old Ed Ross, a former South Whidbey resident.Ross was found on a rural Kelso road stabbed to death last fall. At trial, Fernandez, 34, shouldered the greatest share of the blame and was convicted of first-degree aggravated murder. He will serve a life sentence in prison with no opportunity for parole. Accomplice Jesse Osalde, 19, was convicted of first-degree felony murder and pleaded guilty to a second-degree kidnapping charge for his role in holding Ross' female companion, Catherine Fischer, against her will. Fischer was held for more than 24 hours in the days leading up to Ross' murder. Osalde received a sentence of 261 months in prison.Two other accomplices in the murder pleaded guilty to charges in January and did not stand trial. Langley resident Paul Sarkis, Jr., 19, pleaded to first-degree felony murder and second-degree kidnapping, while TaLee Colter of Mukilteo pleaded to felony manslaughter. Sarkis will spend 261 months in prison. Coulter will go to prison for 108 months.Sue Baur, a prosecuting attorney who worked the Ross case, said the eight-day trial was quickly judged against standards set for murder cases.Actually, we try 'em really fast down here, Baur said.Baur assisted Cowlitz County's chief prosecutor, Jim Stonier, and assistant prosecutor Arne Denny during the trial."

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