Michael Madison, a convicted sex offender, has been found guilty for the murders of three women. The women were killed in 2013 and wrapped in garbage bags, sparking fears that a serial killer in the mold of Anthony Sowell was on the loose. Sowell was a notorious Cleveland mass murderer who was convicted of killing 11 women in 2011; all the women were found buried at his Cleveland residence.
As The Washington Post reports, members of the jury deliberated for 24 hours before convicting Madison on 13 charges of kidnapping, rape, and aggravated murder. The verdict ensures that Madison will never see the outside of prison walls. The jury, starting from next Thursday, will determine if Madison deserves the death penalty. The former drug dealer showed no visible reaction when the judge read out his verdict and plans to appeal the judgment at the Ohio Supreme Court.
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Madison’s defense team, spearheaded by David Grant, agreed that Madison killed Shirellda Terry, 18, Angela Deskins, 38, and Shetisha Sheeley, 28, between October 2012 and July 2013, but argued that he did not commit the murders with the precision and calculation which would make him eligible for the death penalty.
Grant said the crimes were fueled by drugs and alcohol, deeming them “spontaneous eruptions of violence.” The defense attorney went on to say that the 38-year-old strangled two of the women during bouts of excessive rage. During his sentencing, the lawyer hopes to present the opinions of psychological experts and people who knew the accused in a bid to deter a death sentence.
Madison, who is a registered sex offender who spent 4 years in prison for attempted rape, was arrested by police at his mother’s Cleveland residence after a two-hour standoff. A cable television worker had complained to police about a decomposing smell coming from a garage in Madison’s apartment building. When police searched the place, they found the body of a woman, mutilated and wrapped in garbage bags sealed with tape. Further searches revealed the body of a woman in the backyard of an apartment and another in the basement of yet another house.
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Madison, in a marathon interrogation with Cleveland police, said he hoped his story would encourage people like him to seek psychiatric help before it was too late, according to The Cleveland Plain Dealer.
“I do not want this to go down and be for nothing. I don’t want this to just be, you know a spectacle.”
Madison said he committed the murders because of a volatile anger he had toward his mother and a woman who fathered two children for him. He said 2 years before he was arrested, he had turned to his mother for help and instead was told to “muscle up and be a man.” He said “it was pretty much the same thing I got from everybody; even the ones who care about me… anything less than graduating from high school, going to college and becoming a doctor and lawyer… my mother was unsatisfied.”
Madison said his low-self esteem drove him to drink and he began selling marijuana to make ends meet because he believed that his mother would kick him out on the streets. His drug business helped him meet women regularly. Madison admitted that he met Shetisha Sheeley through a friend. One night, he found her going through his personal stuff. He said he asked her what she was doing and got a profanity-laden response. In a fit of rage, he had grabbed her by the throat and squeezed until she went limp.
Madison said he had no recollection of killing Angela Deskins and that he ran into Shirellda Terry as she came back from school and strangled her, putting her inside a bag with her body folded at the waist with her neck and feet tied together.
[Image courtesy of East Cleveland Police Department]