ASHLAND, Ohio – A man accused of killing two women told another woman he had tied to a bed that she was going to die before she broke free and called 911, a prosecutor told a jury on Monday.
Shawn Grate also videotaped himself raping one of the women found dead and the woman rescued by police a year and a half ago, Ashland County Prosecutor Chris Tunnell said during opening statements.
Grate has pleaded not guilty to aggravated murder and could be sentenced to death if convicted of killing 29-year-old Elizabeth Griffith and 43-year-old Stacey Stanley.
He was arrested in September 2016 after police found the women’s remains in what was supposed to be a vacant Ashland home, where another woman said she had been held captive.
Once in custody, Grate, 41, told police that he had killed two other women but he has not been charged in those killings. Police also looked into whether he was connected to the 2015 death of a fifth woman.
Grate’s attorney declined to make an opening statement as the trial got underway.
Grate, described by those who know him as a charmer with a dark side, was arrested after a woman called 911 and said she was being held inside a home.
The woman said she was lured into the house and raped repeatedly by Grate, the prosecutor said. “He told her she was going to die,” Tunnell said.
Police rescued the woman and found piles of trash and clothing, he said.
“Although they didn’t see anyone, they knew the smell was unmistakable. The smell of death told them there was going to be more to the story,” Tunnell said.
Investigators then found the bodies of the two women underneath piles of clothes in a closet and in the basement, Tunnell said.
He said he plans to show videotaped police interviews where Grate admits to the killings. Grate demonstrated on video how he strangled the two women, Tunnell said.
Information from: Ashland Times-Gazette, http://www.times-gazette.com