(AP) CLEVELAND - An Ohio prosecutor announced Tuesday that he will seek the death penalty against convicted sex offender Michael Madison, accused of killing three women and leaving their bodies 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 Madison, 36. The death-penalty option was added in an updated indictment that came after prosecutors reviewed the case.
Madison has pleaded not guilty. His attorney, David Grant, had lobbied against making it a death-penalty case and said Tuesday he was disappointed but not surprised by the decision.
Grant said information that he presented to a prosecutor's committee in opposition to the death penalty was privileged but would be presented at trial. The defense had sought Madison's police, school and social-service records in preparation for the presentation to the committee.
The medical examiner said victims Shirellda H. Terry, 18, and Angela H. Deskins, 38, were strangled. Shetisha D. Sheeley, 28, died of "homicidal violence by unspecified means," the medical examiner said.
Their 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 perpetrated while committing another felony.
The indictment also includes three counts of kidnapping, three counts of gross abuse of a corpse, one count of rape and one of weapons possession by an ex-convict.
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.Complete coverage of the Michael Madison case on Crimesider