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Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Convicted sex offender - Kidnapping - Rape - Necrophilia
Number of victims: 3
Date of murders: September 2012 - July 2013
Date of arrest: July 19, 2013
Date of birth: October 15, 1977
Victims profile: Shetisha Sheeley, 28 / Angela Deskins, 38 / Shirellda Helen Terry, 18
Method of murder: Ligature strangulation
Location: East Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, USA
Status: Madison is currently being held in custody awaiting trial

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Michael Madison (born October 15, 1977) is a suspected American serial killer from East Cleveland, Ohio who is currently being held in custody as a suspect in at least three murders.

Discovery and arrest

On July 19, 2013, police responding to reports of a foul odor investigated a garage leased to Madison and discovered the decomposing body laying inside. Two more bodies were found the following day – one in a backyard and the other in the basement of a vacant house.

The bodies, which all belonged to young African-American women, were found 100 yards (91 m) to 200 yards (180 m) apart and were each wrapped in plastic bags. After obtaining a search warrant, police entered Madison's apartment and found "further evidence of decomposition." After a brief standoff with police at his mother's house, Madison was taken into custody without incident.

Court appearance

On July 22, 2013, Madison was charged with three charges of aggravated murder. His bail was set a six million dollars and he also waived his right to a preliminary hearing.


The victims were identified as:

  • 38-year-old Angela Deskins, a resident of Cleveland who was reported missing in June 2013.

  • 28-year-old Shetisha Sheeley, who had been missing since September 2012.

  • 18-year-old Shirellda Helen Terry, who was last seen July 10, 2013, leaving a Cleveland elementary school where she had a summer job.


Michael Madison, Accused Ohio Serial Killer, Faces Additional Charges In Of Slaying of Three Women

By Kim Palmer -

July 30, 2013

CLEVELAND, July 29 (Reuters) - Accused serial killer Michael Madison faced additional charges on Monday in connection with the slayings of three women whose decomposing bodies were found wrapped in plastic bags around his suburban Cleveland home.

Madison, 35, a convicted sex offender, already was charged with aggravated murder and kidnapping in a case reminiscent of 11 slayings committed several years ago by Anthony Sowell, one of Cleveland's most notorious mass murderers. A grand jury on Monday charged Madison with raping his victims and abusing their corpses.

Madison was arrested July 19 after police, drawn by the stench of decomposing flesh, discovered the remains of Shirellda Terry, 18, in a garage behind his apartment in East Cleveland.

The following day the body of Shetisha Sheeley, 28, was discovered in a weeded lot two houses from Madison's apartment, and the remains of Angela Deskins, 38, were discovered in the basement of a vacant house near his home, according to police.

Two of the victims, Terry and Sheeley, were found to have been strangled. The cause of Deskins' death has yet to be determined.

During a police interview, Madison mentioned the name of Sowell, a Cleveland serial killer, according to East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton. Sowell was convicted of murdering 11 women and dumping their bodies in garbage bags in and around his home in 2009.

Aggravated murder is a capital offense in Ohio, but prosecutors have not decided whether they would seek the death penalty if Madison were convicted.

East Cleveland Municipal Judge William Dawson ordered Madison on July 22 to remain held on a $6 million bond. He is expected to be arraigned later this week.

Madison was confined in the same lockup as Ariel Castro, the former school bus driver who pleaded guilty to abducting and holding three young women captive in his home for roughly a decade during which they were starved, beaten and sexually assaulted.

He faces life in prison without parole plus 1,000 years under a plea agreement reached with prosecutors. His sentencing is scheduled for Thursday. (Editing by Steve Gorman, Brendan O'Brien and Lisa Shumaker)


Suspected killer Michael Madison's earlier attack on woman mirrors later allegations, records show

By John Caniglia, The Plain Dealer

July 30, 2013

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- In October 2001, convicted drug slinger Michael Madison dragged an 18-year-old woman down an East Cleveland street, threw her behind a house and prepared to rape her.

Within minutes, records show, a police officer pulled up, and Madison bolted. Officers later arrested him.

He later pleaded guilty to attempted rape and was sentenced to four years in prison. Before he got out of prison, he was ordered to undergo treatment for sex offenders, state records show.

After he completed the treatment, he returned to East Cleveland. And though he was a convicted sex offender, he listed his address with the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department as his mother's in Cleveland, not at the ram-shackled apartment in East Cleveland where he actually lived.

Today, Madison is back behind bars, accused of more attacks on women. He was indicted this week on charges of killing three women in East Cleveland. The indictment says he raped one of them.

His arrest bucks a statewide trend: Recidivism rates in Ohio continue to fall. In February, the prison system reported that the state's recidivism rate reached a record low, with 28 percent of inmates returning to prison after their release.

The national average is about 43 percent.

For sex offenders, the numbers are much lower. A 2006 report by the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services says that only 8 percent of state sex offenders were re-arrested for a new sex offense.

Nationally, the Center for Sex Offender Management in Silver Spring, Md., said about 12 percent of sex offenders are likely to re-offend in another sex case.

But Madison is an example of a long-standing push in the treatment of sex-offenders: Experts say the most effective treatment evolves into a process, not a one-time program that inmates receive in prison.

"There needs to be follow-up in the community,'' said Wesley Jennings, an associate professor of criminology at the University of South Florida. "It is similar to drug offenders. A one-time program is not a panacea.''

Madison's arrest in 2001 mirrors his new charges.

In the earlier case, Madison "dragged the victim down the street against her will,'' court records say. He pulled her into a back yard on Marloes Avenue, off Euclid Avenue, and was getting ready to sexually attack her when police arrived, the records show.

In the current case, Madison, 35, is charged in the slayings of Shetisha Sheeley, 28; Angela Deskins, 38; and Shirellda Terry, 18. Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner Thomas Gilson said Terry and Deskins were strangled with an object, such as a rope or a cord.

Gilson attributed the cause of death of Sheeley to “homicidal violence by unspecified means.”

He was arrested July 19 after a two-hour standoff with police at his mother's home in Cleveland. He was indicted this week on rape and aggravated murder charges. He will be arraigned Wednesday morning.

The indictment does not contain the death penalty, though prosecutors could choose to seek a superseding indictment that would include the specifications.


Two of three East Cleveland women linked to accused killer Michael Madison were strangled, medical examiner says

By John Caniglia, The Plain Dealer

July 26, 2013

EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Two of three slain women in East Cleveland linked to accused killer Michael Madison were strangled, the county medical examiner's office said today.

Shirellda Helen Terry, 18, and Angela Deskins, 38, died the same way, while Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner Thomas Gilson attributed the cause of death of Shetisha Sheeley, 28, to "homicidal violence by unspecified means.''

In an interview, Gilson said the advanced decomposition prevented authorities from determining a specific cause of death for Sheeley. He said the deaths of Terry and Deskins stemmed from ligature strangulation, meaning an object such as a rope or cord were used. He declined to go into detail, citing the investigation.

He also would not estimate when the women were killed.

"That's at the heart of the investigation,'' Gilson said.

Gilson's rulings bring back memories of convicted serial killer Anthony Sowell, who strangled many of the 11 women he killed and buried in and around his Imperial Avenue home. In Sowell's case, authorities said many of the deaths stemmed from ligature strangulation.

Police found the remains of the women, many of whom had been reported missing, over several days in late 2009. A jury convicted Sowell, and a judge sentenced him to death.

On Thursday, East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton said authorities will continue to search for other possible victims. Police Chief Ralph Spotts told The Plain Dealer that Madison stopped speaking with officers soon after his arrest. But he said Madison left open the possibility that there might be other victims.

Madison, 35, is expected to be indicted within a few weeks in the deaths of the three women. He is being held on a $6 million bond.

Last week, police found the women wrapped in plastic bags. Soon after the discovery, volunteers searched the city's abandoned homes, and they are expected to continue in the days ahead.

Gilson's release on the causes of death came the same day as news broke about another traumatic crime against women. Ariel Castro of Cleveland pleaded guilty today to hundreds of charges in the kidnappings and rapes of three Cleveland women -- Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight and Amanda Berry -- he held hostage for about a decade.

He faces life in prison without the possibility of parole when Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Michael Russo sentences him.


Man charged in slayings of women in E. Cleveland

July 23, 2013

EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio — An Ohio man possibly influenced by a serial killer was charged Monday with aggravated murder after three bodies wrapped in trash bags were found in suburban Cleveland.

Michael Madison, 35, was charged with three counts each of aggravated murder and kidnapping. He didn’t enter a plea at a brief court appearance.

Bail was set at $6 million. He also waived his right to a preliminary hearing.

Authorities said Madison was a registered sex offender who had spent time in prison for attempted rape. He was arrested Friday after a standoff at his mother’s home.

At a news conference Monday morning, local officials called the killings in East Cleveland “senseless” and said the suspect was “an individual who had no regard for human life.”

Police identified one of the three victims as Angela Deskins, 38, of Cleveland.

The other two have not been identified.

Cuyahoga County’s medical examiner, Dr. Thomas Gilson, said his office had trouble identifying the bodies because they were badly decomposed.

He asked for the public’s help in identifying a woman who had several tattoos, including a red star on her thumb and a flower on her thigh with the name Gene beside it.

Dr. Gilson said fingerprints, dental records, and DNA genetic material would be used to try to identify the other two victims.

On Sunday, local and federal officers searched for other bodies near where the women were found. The search turned up nothing.

The first body was found in a garage Friday.

Two others were found Saturday — one in a backyard and the other in the basement of a vacant house. The bodies, all women, were found about 100 to 200 yards apart.

On Monday, East Cleveland Police Chief Ralph Spotts said: “This is an ongoing investigation. We’re nowhere near done.”

Chief Spotts said he believed the women had been killed in the last 6 to 10 days, but that they could have been missing for longer.

He said it was clear the killings were linked to Madison.

“Everything was in about a 250-foot proximity to where he lives,” Chief Spotts said. “The M.O. is the same: Each body was wrapped in several plastic bags. We definitely believe that he will probably be tied to everything.”

East Cleveland has about 17,500 residents.

“It’s tragic — the unthinkable has happened,” East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton said. “We as a community have to deal with it.”

It’s the third recent high-profile case in the Cleveland area that involves missing women.

In May, three women who separately vanished about a decade ago were found captive in a run-down house.

Ariel Castro, a former school bus driver, has been charged with nearly 1,000 counts of kidnap, rape, and other crimes and has pleaded not guilty.

Castro is accused of repeatedly restraining the women, sometimes chaining them to a pole in a basement, to a bedroom heater, or inside a van.

In 2009, Anthony Sowell was arrested after a woman escaped from his house and said she had been raped there.

Police found the mostly nude bodies of 11 women throughout the home.

Sowell’s victims ranged in age from 24 to 52, all were recovering or current drug addicts, and most died of strangulation; some had been decapitated, and others were so badly decomposed that coroners couldn’t say with certainty how they died.

He was found guilty in 2011 and sentenced to death.

The latest grim discoveries occurred at a time when Cleveland is in many ways reinventing itself.

The city just opened a $465 million convention center and exhibit hall. The Horseshoe Casino has opened in a former department store and parts of downtown are bustling with a vibrant restaurant scene and the first new apartments in decades.

The crimes are affecting the image people have of Cleveland, said East Cleveland resident Ali Bilal.

“They’re thinking it’s one of those places that you don’t want to go,” he said.

Yet ask other people in East Cleveland about the long-term effect of this latest tragedy, and many return to the same thing: At least it’s bringing people together.

“Maybe after all this, maybe this will bring a change to East Cleveland,” Vanessa Jones said Sunday. “Hopefully. Pray for that.”


Alleged Ohio Serial Killer's Bond Set at $6 Million, One Victim Identified

By Russell Goldman -

July 22, 2013

An alleged serial killer in East Cleveland, Ohio, was ordered held on $6 million bond today as authorities identified one of three women he is accused of killing and dumping in plastic bags.

Authorities also asked for the public's help in identifying second victim by describing her tattoos.

Michael Madison, 35, appeared in a municipal court and was charged with three counts of kidnapping and three counts of aggravated murder, a charge that carries the death penalty in Ohio.

Wearing a purple jail-issue jumpsuit, he answered "yes," each time the judge asked if he understood the charges against him. He did not enter a plea.

Bond was set $6 million, $1 million for each of the six felony counts.

Authorities today, announced the identity of one of Madison's three alleged victims. Angela Deskins, a 38-year-old resident of East Cleveland, was the second body found by police, and is believed to have been buried in Madison's backyard.

Authorities were able to identify Deskins by fingerprints on file with the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office.

Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Gilsom said the cause of death could not be determined in all three cases, because the bodies were already too decomposed.

Police discovered the still-unidentified first victim, when neighbors reported a foul smell emanating from Madison's garage on Friday.

A third victim was found in the basement of a nearby abandoned home. All three women are believed to have been killed within the past several weeks and were found within 200 yards of each other.

Police spent the weekend searching for additional bodies. On Sunday, more than 100 volunteers scoured the blighted neighborhood's abandoned homes looking for bodies, but no additional victims have been discovered.

The medical examiner asked the public for help in identifying one of the women.

The woman is described as having multiple tattoos, including a red star on her left thumb, a pair of lips on her left forearm and a flower on her left thigh bearing the name "Gene," and the name of rapper Lil Wayne across her left breast.

At a press conference before Madison's court appearance, Mayor Gary Norton called the killings a "tragedy" and the "most unspeakable of atrocities known to mankind."

The women, he said, were "three individuals minding their business and being good… killed senselessly by an individual who has no regard for human lives."

Madison was classified as a sex offender in 2002 when he was sentenced to four years in prison for attempted rape.

His case comes on the heels of two highly public and disturbing cases in the nearby city of Cleveland.

In 2009, the bodies of 11 women were found in garbage bags and plastic sheets in the home of Anthony Sowell. Sowell was convicted in 2011 of murdering the women and sentenced to death.

In May, three woman kidnapped a decade ago were found alive but held captive in the home of Ariel Castro. Castro has been charged with kidnapping, rape and the murder of one of his captive's unborn children. He has pleaded not guilty to all counts.


After 3 bodies found, mayor warns: 'There might be more victims'

By Emily Smith and Chris Welch -

Sun July 21, 2013

(CNN) -- Three bodies have been discovered in East Cleveland, Ohio, police say, and a man is in custody in connection with the case.

"We are dealing with a sick individual, and we have reason to believe that there might be more victims," East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton told CNN.

All three victims appear to be young black women, their decomposing bodies wrapped in layers of plastic and taped up, according to authorities.

Two bodies were found Saturday, one in the basement of an abandoned house, the other in a field nearby. The first victim was found Friday in a garage on the same block after police received a call about a foul odor.

The first victim was found naked with indications of trauma, police say. The second victim was found wearing a green hoodie, and the third was wearing a leopard print leotard.

The garage where the first victim was found was leased to Michael Madison, according to Detective Sgt. Scott Gardner with the East Cleveland police.

Authorities obtained a search warrant for Madison's apartment and found "additional evidence of decomposition" there, he said.

The 35-year-old suspect was later located and taken into custody without incident after a standoff at his mother's house.

According to police, Madison was convicted of attempted rape in 2001 and is a registered sex offender.

CNN could not immediately reach a representative for Madison.

Norton believes the killings happened over a 10-day period.

"One of the things that makes us believe it's the same suspect is the way that they were all wrapped ... and the same concealment of each of the victims," he said.

According to Norton, Madison "idolized" and was "influenced" by convicted serial killer Anthony Sowell.

Sowell was sentenced to death in 2011 for killing 11 women in Cuyahoga County, Ohio.

"Unfortunately, this is a sick individual who appears to have been influenced by another sick individual," Norton told CNN. "If he had been out for one more hour, there's no telling what would have happened."

One hundred volunteers were going house to house Sunday "to see if there's anything else out there that police need to know about," he added. Cadaver dogs were assisting in the search.

East Cleveland Police Chief Ralph Spotts told CNN affiliate WEWS that authorities have received tips from the public and hope to get more.

"A lot of people knew him and saw that he was a troubled individual and now, you know, we're getting tips from even females saying that they were in his house and they got away, but never said anything," he said.

Shaeaun Child, a neighbor who tipped police off about the foul smell in the garage, told CNN he knows Madison. The two argued once over the blocking of a driveway.

"From what I know, he was an OK person when I first met him. And then from there, he actually, he had a lot of conflicts with different girls that he knew," Child said. "When he real upset with someone, he get real loud. You could hear him like two blocks away."

He continued: "After my conflict with him, I always watched him. I never turned my back because you never know."

So far, police have been unable to identify any of the victims. The Cuyahoga County medical examiner said in a Sunday statement that "identification and final cause of death may take several days" given the advanced state of decomposition. Currently the medical examiner's office is not asking people with missing relatives to provide DNA samples.

"We hope and pray that there are no more (bodies)," the mayor said.

No charges have yet been filed.

East Cleveland is seven miles northeast of Cleveland, Ohio. The city, incorporated in 1911, occupies three square miles.

According to 2010 census data, the city of almost 18,000 is predominately African-American and has the highest poverty rate in Cuyahoga County.



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