Picture to the left, Tom J Gross Wanted in Manatee County, Florida for First Degree Murder.
The following is the outline of evidence against Tom J Gross, submitted to the court in Hillsborough County in 2014. It is factual and Public Record. Case 8:12-cv-01954-JSM-MAP Document 91-1 Filed 04/18/14. This evidence was presented in one of the Civil Suits that was filed against Thomas. Thomas dropped the case because the Judge in Federal Court compelled Tom Gross to come to the States. Tom refused after pleading the 5th amendment for five hours. This filing represents only a small piece of the much broader body of evidence that compelled the Manatee County Sheriff's Department to issue an Arrest Warrant against Thomas Gross.
For years, Tom had been loaned or gifted money by his parents to support himself and his family. Altogether, that amount exceeded $668,000, at least, as of February, 2011. Tom’s father and Ina’s husband of 50 years – Samuel Gross – died in 2010. After her husband’s death, Tom continued to implore to his mother for financial support.
For example, in July 2011, Tom Gross sent his mother a five-page email explaining his severe financial extremis and asking her for more money. He told her his “triad” of monthly expenses totaled more than $10,000, but he was earning only $2,000 per month trading in the stock market. As of the date of the email, he was financially “wiped out.” He told her his “day of zero money” would be in two days, and he was facing a tax bill from the IRS and, “much worse,” had to make a $2,200 payment on his life insurance policy in three days. Shortly thereafter, his mortgage payment would become due, not to mention his “regular” monthly credit card expenses. “So, I am quite literally begging, pleading, begging for the following:” (Id. at p. 4). The “following” was another loan of almost $30,000. “I of course will love you irrespective, but boy, I do need your help.” (Id. at p. 5). Ina Gross apparently was reluctant to give Tom the money and told him so. The next day, Tom emailed his mother again and asked her to consider a lesser amount. He signed off: “Please allow me this one last opportunity.” (Id. at p. ___).
Months later, just before Ina Gross was murdered, Tom explained to his sister, Ellen Gerth, that he needed more money, ostensibly for a business venture. Tom told Ellen their mother was reluctant to give him the money but he felt she would do so if he could ask her face–to–face. That opportunity presented itself during the week of January, 2012 in connection with a memorial for their father that weekend in Gainesville, Florida. Tom traveled to Florida to attend the memorial and ask his mother for more money. He told his sister he was combining the trip with a business meeting on January 9 in the New York area. On information and belief, that meeting involved the “business opportunity” for what Tom was again asking his mother for money.
The memorial in Gainesville was on January 7. Afterwards, Tom returned to Lakewood Ranch with his mother. On Sunday, January 8, Ellen and her husband, David Gerth, met Tom and Ina Gross for lunch in St. Petersburg. Tom announced his plan to spend the night with his mother and that she would drive him to Tampa in the very early morning hours the next day to catch his flight to New York. The Gerths suggested that Tom stay with them in Tampa instead, and that they would drive him to the airport. He declined and insisted he stay with his mother overnite. The plan, according to Tom, was that his mother would wake him at 3:45 a.m. so they could drive to Tampa in time to make his flight.
Tom cooked supper for his mother at her home Sunday evening. In his later videotaped statement to law enforcement officers, Tom stated unequivocally that his last trip to the garage that night was to throw a tomato paste can in the recycling bin at approximately 9:30 p.m. The vehicles were in the garage and the door was closed. At that point Tom claims he went to bed at approximately 10:45 p.m. He stated his mother was watching television in her living room when he went to bed. He claims he overslept because his mother did not wake him. Tom answered that he might have used the restroom during the night but otherwise was asleep and heard nothing. When he awoke he went to find his mother on the other side of the house. Eventually, he claims he noticed her dog in the garage and found her body on the floor of her garage, in front of one of the vehicles. A knife was protruding from her neck (later determined to be a knife from Ina Gross’s kitchen). He called 911 and performed CPR, he claims.
While performing CPR in the garage, he noticed the emergency lights when the paramedics arrived and, instead of simply opening the garage door, went through the laundry room to the front door, only to tell the paramedics to go the garage door instead. He claims it was then he first noticed the front door was ajar (there were no signs of forced entry or corroborating evidence that the front door was ajar); in fact, the sheriff’s office found no sign of forced entry anywhere in the house or the garage.
He also withdrew $43,000 from one of Ina Gross’ bank accounts on which he was a co-signatory.
As part of its investigation, the Sheriff lifted fingerprints from the crime scene. Of the 13 fingerprints that were identifiable, 10 were identified as Tom’s, one was identified as Ina Gross’, and two were identified as an air conditioning repairman’s who installed Ina Gross’ air conditioning unit (the repairman has subsequently been cleared of suspicion). The Sheriff also analyzed DNA evidence. Of the 43 samples analyzed, the only DNA profile foreign to Tom and Ina Gross was a single instance of contamination, which profile matched that of Officer Talbot who participated in and oversaw the processing of the crime scene.
The medical examiner determined Ina Gross’ cause of death was stab and slash wounds of the neck. Although she died from stab wounds, the toxicology reports indicate that Ina Gross had a high level of zolpidem (ambien), a prescription sleep aid, in her blood. The amount found was considerably more than a single dose and would likely have resulted in very symptomatic intoxication. There is no evidence that Ina Gross had a prescription for Ambien.
The forensic examination of Tom’s computer shows that Tom shut down the computer at 0245 hours on January 9, 2012. Contrarily, in his interview, Tom stated that he went to sleep around 2300 hours on January 8, 2012 and awoke at 0530 hours on January 9, 2012.
A long-time neighbor and close friend of Ina Gross lived across the street from Ina. She was interviewed by the sheriff’s office. She was walking her dog in her front yard at approximately 10:30 p.m. – 10:45 p.m. on Sunday evening. She could hear a vehicle running in Ina Gross’ garage, but the garage door was closed. Then, as she watched, the garage door began to open. Ina’s car was indeed running and the driver’s door was open. Tom was revealed standing next to the car and leaning into it. He soon noticed the garage door was opened and made eye contact with her. He did not acknowledge her. He walked away toward the back of the garage where he used a wall-mounted switch to close the garage door.
Dried vomit was found in Ina Gross’ car. The DNA sample from the dried vomit on the driver’s seat of the car was linked to Ina Gross. Zolpidem was found in Ina Gross’ stomach contents and in the vomit found in her car.
The Sheriff’s office did not find any signs of forced entry to the outside of Ina Gross’ house.
On January 9, 2012, Tom withdrew $43,000 from one of Ina Gross’ bank accounts.
The evidence will show that Ina Gross did not a positive relationship with Tom’s wife, nor was she comfortable with the idea that Tom could extricate from his dire financial straits merely using her money. On information and belief, Ina was beginning condition her willingness to “loan” or give Tom more money on him filing bankruptcy or separating from his wife.
This was the storyline he initially told detectives. Noticing Tom smelled of bleach, the detectives later asked Tom about the smell. At that point, Tom J Gross admitted that he washed his hands with bleach because they were covered with his mother’s blood, supposedly on his way through the laundry room to meet the paramedics.