Man linked to 4 slayings is indicted in 2, plus kidnapping
ASHLAND, Ohio – A man linked to the slayings of four women in Ohio was indicted Thursday in two of those killings and the kidnapping of a fifth woman whose 911 call led authorities to him.
A grand jury indicted Shawn Grate on 23 counts, including aggravated murder and rape, Ashland County Prosecutor Chris Tunnell said. He said Grate is charged with "horrific" crimes against innocent victims, and prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty if Grate is convicted.
Grate's attorneys didn't immediately respond to a message seeking comment.
Grate, 40, was arrested last week after a woman reported she was being held in a home. Police freed the woman and found the remains of two other women at the Ashland property, which was supposed to be vacant. The bodies were identified as 29-year-old Elizabeth Griffith, of Ashland, and 43-year-old Stacey Stanley, of Greenwich.
Authorities said Grate led them to a third body in nearby Richland County, near Mansfield. That woman hasn't been identified.
Authorities haven't said how any of those women died.
Grate also confessed he'd killed another woman who was selling magazines door-to-door a decade or more ago, according to Marion County Sheriff Tim Bailey. Grate said the woman had sold magazines to his mother but failed to deliver them, so he abducted the woman, stabbed her and dumped her body, Bailey said.
Grate indicated that was the first woman he killed, Bailey said.
Authorities found the body of a woman in 2007 near Marion, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) southeast of Ashland, and believe — based on details Grate provided — that she could be one of his victims. Her identity isn't known.
Charges haven't been filed in the deaths in Richland and Marion counties.
Police also are investigating whether Grate might have been involved in the disappearance or death of another woman in early 2015.
Mansfield police say they've reopened an investigation into that death based on new information. A coroner initially ruled that Rebekah Leicy died of a drug overdose and found no signs of traumatic injuries, but Grate's arrest prompted police to take another look at the case.