By Kim Palmer
CLEVELAND (Reuters) - The trial of a man charged with killing three woman and wrapping their bodies in garbage bags started on Monday with jury selection in a Cleveland courthouse and the defendant facing a possible death sentence if convicted.
Michael Madison, 38, faces 14 charges, including kidnapping, gross abuse of a corpse, rape and murder in the deaths of Shetisha Sheeley, 28, Angela Deskins, 38 and 18-year-old Shirellda Terry.
Jury selection is expected to take a week. Prosecutors said they will call about 50 witnesses in the trial.
About 75 prospective jurors have been called to serve on the panel, prosecutors said.
East Cleveland Police found the first of the three women in July 2013, after responding to a complaint about foul odors coming from a garage behind Madison's apartment. The bodies of two more women were discovered nearby the next day.
Madison was arrested at his mother's Cleveland home after a two-hour standoff with police.
Madison pleaded not guilty in 2013 and has been held on $6 million bond since his arrest. He was previously arrested in 2001 for kidnapping, attempted rape and gross sexual imposition.
Attorneys for Madison have not discussed their planned defense, but one, David Grant, has said if Madison is convicted, they will work to save his life when it comes to the sentencing phase, local TV station WLWT reported.
Defense attorneys were granted a motion in February to prevent county prosecutors from comparing Madison to Anthony Sowell, who was convicted of raping and killing 11 women and wrapping their bodies in plastic bags before disposing of them in and around his East Cleveland home.
(Reporting by Kim Palmer, writing by Jon Herskovitz; editing by Bernadette Baum, G Crosse)