Ohio jury recommends death penalty for man who killed three women

Reuters News
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Posted: May 20, 2016 2:26 PM

By Kim Palmer

CLEVELAND (Reuters) - An Ohio jury on Friday unanimously recommended the death penalty for a man convicted of murdering three women in 2012 and 2013 and keeping their bodies wrapped in plastic bags as trophies.

Michael Madison, 38, showed little emotion as he was handcuffed after Cuyahoga County Judge Nancy McDonnell read the jury's decision in court.

Madison is scheduled to be sentenced on Thursday by McDonnell, who can follow the jury's recommendation or sentence him to life in prison without parole.

After the hearing, prosecutor Timothy McGinty called Madison a "cold-blooded serial killer" and said the families of Shetisha Sheeley, 28; Angela Deskins, 38, and Shirellda Terry, 18, were thankful he will never kill again.

"This was a hobby to Michael Madison, a thing he did for personal and sexual satisfaction. He hated women and he expressed that," McGinty said.

On May 5, a jury of six men and six women found Madison guilty of three counts of aggravated murder. He was also convicted on additional counts, including rape, kidnapping and gross abuse of a corpse, and was ruled a violent sexual predator.

The jury then had to decide whether Madison should receive the death penalty or serve a life sentence.

If the judge sentences Madison to death, he will join 263 people on Ohio's death row. The state has postponed all executions until 2017 because it has had difficulty obtaining lethal injection drugs.

East Cleveland police found the first of the three women in July 2013 after receiving 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.

During seven weeks of testimony, prosecutors showed the jury grisly video footage of Madison's victims and said he was a deliberate killer who wrapped his victims in multiple layers of garbage bags and kept them close to admire as trophies.

Madison's attorney, David Grant, said his client was responsible for the women's deaths but had not planned them and said his client made no effort to cover up his crimes.

During the sentencing phase, another defense attorney, Mary Tylee, said Madison experienced "a toxic family culture" where physical, emotional and sexual abuse was the norm and he was "a horribly damaged human being."

The families of the victims and defense attorneys declined to comment on the jury's decision on Friday.

(Reporting by Fiona Ortiz; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)