Opening arguments to begin in trial of Ohio man charged with killing three women

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 15, 2016 8:21 AM

By Kim Palmer

CLEVELAND (Reuters) - Opening arguments are slated to begin on Friday in the trial of an Ohio man who may face a death sentence after being charged with killing three women and wrapping their bodies in garbage bags.

Michael Madison, 38, faces 14 charges that include 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 in Cuyahoga County Court in downtown Cleveland has taken nearly two weeks, and prosecutors plan to call 50 witnesses in the trial, which is expected to last for an additional three weeks. Repeated motions by Madison’s lawyer for a mistrial have been denied.

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.

He pleaded not guilty in 2013 and has been held on a $6 million bond since his arrest.

Madison was previously arrested in 2001 for kidnapping, attempted rape and gross sexual imposition. He pleaded guilty to attempted rape in 2002 and was sentenced to four years in prison, according to court documents.

Defense lawyers were granted a motion in February to prevent county prosecutors from comparing Madison with 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, Editing by Ben Klayman and Lisa Von Ahn)