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Sugar Cookie

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Ross Anderson, the man arrested for the 2015 deaths of a mother and her child, was sentenced to life in prison, with the possibility of parole, in a Bradley County court.

Anderson was arrested for the murders of Rachael Johnson and her 5-year-old son Colton.

Anderson's address was the same as the victims. Cleveland Police said Rachael Johnson was found at the home with a bullet wound to the head, while her son was shot in the face while reportedly bathing.

The accused man reportedly fled from Bradley County to Rutherford County, where he was taken into custody by the Rutherford County Sheriff's Office. He was eventually taken from Murfeesboro, where he had been assessed due to actions that law enforcement said were consistent with someone with a mental condition. He was brought back to Southeast Tennessee, where police transported him to Moccasin Bend mental facility in Chattanooga for further evaluation.

During the time he was in custody, he reportedly admitted to the murders.

Crump said the plea was agreed to because "there was a significant chance that he would have been found not guilty by reason of insanity by a jury or appellate court. Psychiatrists say he 'didn’t appreciate the wrongfulness of his actions.'"

A Cleveland man serving a life sentence for two murders has died in prison.

Ross Anderson, 34, died while incarcerated at the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center in Hartsville, which is northeast of Nashville. He died on Dec. 6, 2018, the three-year anniversary of his crimes. Anderson’s obituary was published in Monday’s edition of the Cleveland Daily Banner.

According to Robert A. Reburn, East Tennessee public information officer for the Tennessee Department of Corrections, Anderson’s death is under investigation.

“It appears that Anderson’s death is the result of a suicide, but as with all in-custody deaths, it is being investigated,” Reburn stated in an email to the Cleveland Daily Banner.
Colton Johnson was just learning to spell.

The last time his aunt saw him, the boy dashed through a hotel room in jeans and a long-sleeved T-shirt, shouting out letters. It was December 2014.

"J! O! L! V!" he exclaimed, punching the air with each letter as he climbed on top of an ottoman and peeked out a window.

"I'm coming down now," he announced a moment later, in a loud, sing-song voice.

He carefully crawled off the ottoman and dashed across the room as soon as his socks hit the carpet.

That was Colton — always smiling, always on the move.

A mommy's boy with an infectious smile.

"They will be terribly missed,"

On Monday, 5-year-old Colton and his mother, 30-year-old Rachael Johnson, were found shot to death inside their Cleveland, Tenn., home. Cleveland police charged Johnson's boyfriend, Ross Anderson, with two counts of first-degree murder.

A mixed picture of Anderson emerged in the day after their deaths — the 31-year-old worked as a Cleveland firefighter for five years until he resigned in 2014. Childhood friends remembered Anderson as a normal, friendly guy. But neighbors said he was known as odd, erratic and sometimes irrational.

Early Monday morning, hours before Cleveland police found Johnson and Colton's bodies, Anderson knocked on a stranger's door 140 miles away in Murfreesboro.

He told the homeowner the house seemed like a nice place to stay. The homeowner called Rutherford County Sheriff's deputies at about 4:22 a.m., said public information officer Lisa Marchesoni.

Deputies took Anderson to a local hospital for an evaluation — and then, nine hours later, officers in Cleveland discovered Johnson and Colton dead inside their home on Hillview Drive NW.

Johnson's family dog also was killed in the attack.

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