Created on Tuesday, 29 October 2013 Written by THOMAS J. SHEERAN, Associated Press
CLEVELAND (AP) — An Ohio prosecutor announced Tuesday after a lengthy review that he will seek the death penalty against a triple murder suspect whose alleged victims were found in trash bags in a run-down East Cleveland neighborhood.
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty said a county grand jury added specifications that could lead to a death sentence for Michael Madison, 36.
He's charged with killing three women and dumping their bodies. The death-penalty option was added in an updated indictment that came after prosecutors reviewed the case.
Madison, a convicted sex offender, has pleaded not guilty.
His attorney, David Grant, had argued against making it a death-penalty case. Grant did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment on the death penalty decision.
The bodies were found in July after police received a call about a foul smell coming from a garage.
The 14-count updated indictment includes two counts each of aggravated murder for each victim, reflecting allegations that the alleged crimes were a pattern and were done while committing another felony.
The indictment also includes three counts of kidnapping, three of gross abuse of a corpse, one count of rape and one of weapons possession by an ex-convict.
Madison was arrested in the deaths of Shirellda H. Terry, 18; Angela H. Deskins, 38; and Shetisha D. Sheeley, 28. The medical examiner said Terry and Deskins were strangled and Sheeley died of "homicidal violence by unspecified means."
Madison was classified as a sex offender in 2002 when he was sentenced to four years in prison for attempted rape, according to court records. He had drug-related convictions in 2000 and 2001.
The capital crimes review committee studies cases to make sure execution is pursued on a fair basis.
Since McGinty took office one year ago, his office has reviewed 37 potential capital cases, including 15 initiated by his predecessor.
"This is the fourth time since Prosecutor McGinty took office — and the second time in 22 cases since he initiated a new capital review protocol — that he has decided to seek capital punishment," his office said.