AP, Feb. 27, 2003
By MEAD GRUVER, Associated Press Writer
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) – Police arrested a woman Thursday and charged her with being an accessory to the murder of filmmaker Allen Ross in 1995.
Julia Williams, 49, is accused of helping bury Ross’ body in the dirt basement of a house in downtown Cheyenne. Williams also allegedly hid the gun used to kill Ross.
Williams’ arrest was the first in the murder investigation. Charged as an accessory after the fact, Williams was to appear Thursday afternoon before Laramie County Circuit Judge Robert Allen.
Ross’ body was found in July 2000. An investigation concluded that he had been shot in the head and had massive skull fractures.
Ross had been missing since November 1995, seven months after he moved to Cheyenne with Williams and his common-law wife, Linda Greene, from Guthrie, Okla. The three and others belonged to a religious sect called the Samaritan Foundation.
Cheyenne Police Lt. Jeff Schulz said Williams, who left Cheyenne not long after Ross’ murder, moved back to town not long after Linda Greene’s death last March in Berryville, Ark.
”After the death, Ms. Williams started approaching us a little more,” he said. ”Over a period of interviews she eventually admitted burying the body and hiding the gun.”
He said Williams was arrested without incident after she was called in to the Police Department to discuss the case.
Ross grew up in the Chicago suburb of Naperville, Ill. He was well-known in Chicago filmmaking circles before he abruptly moved to Oklahoma in the early 1990s, according to friends.
For a time he lived with other members of the Samaritan Foundation in an abandoned jailhouse in Guthrie. In April 1995, several members of the group moved to Cheyenne.
Williams, Linda Greene and Greene’s husband, Denis Greene, now of Kansas City, Mo., were in the house when Ross was killed, Schulz said.
”That certainly narrows down our list of suspects,” he said. However: ”We don’t have enough evidence to prove who pulled the trigger.”
Police suspect the cult’s activities played a role in the murder.
”We have hypothesized that Mr. Ross was trying to get title to some of the property or rights to some of the books or printed materials they were printing out,” he said.
He said Linda Greene and Denis Greene have implicated each other in interviews with police.
Last fall, he said, Williams went with Cheyenne police to Kansas City to show them the lot where she disposed of the gun used to kill Ross. Much had been dumped at the lot since 1995, however, and the gun was not found.
”Since she started coming forward she’s been extremely cooperative and we’re counting on that continued cooperation to build a case against the suspect,” he said. ”And if it turns out to be Linda Greene, we won’t charge her … but at least we’ll know who did it.”
He said he is happy with the progress that has been made in the case.