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Who is Shawn Grate?
American serial killer, rapist, and former drifter Shawn Michael Grate were born on August 8, 1976. He murdered five young women in and around northern Ohio between 2006 and September 2016.
Grate was found guilty of two counts of aggravated murder on May 7, 2018, in Ashland County; he pleaded guilty to two additional murders on March 1, 2019, in Richland County; and he pleaded guilty to a third murder on September 11, 2019, in Marion County. Grate received a death sentence and will be put to death in 2025.
The couple Terry Grate and Theresa McFarland welcomed Shawn Michael Grate into the world on August 8, 1976 in Marion, Ohio. He was stated to have “had a normal” childhood, engaging in backyard football and softball games as well as mingling with the young people in the area. In 1974, Theresa and Terry got married.
One was born in 1974, and Shawn was born in 1976 as a result of that union. According to reports, Grate struggled in school and was held back for kindergarten and first grade. Despite these issues, he was described as charming and friendly, with a former female friend claiming that “all the girls liked Shawn.” On August 6, 1982, two days before Shawn’s sixth birthday, his parents announced their separation.
When Grate was eleven years old, his mother left the family behind in Ohio and moved in with a man in Kentucky. Grate continued to live with his father for the following four years since he was furious by this affair and did not appreciate Theresa’s boyfriends.
He was raised by his father and went to River Valley High School, where he excelled at baseball but never played again after fracturing his arm and needing surgery when a tumor was found. His half-sister would say that “it was a battle in the household, and that was apparent at a young age between the two of them,” referring to his childhood fantasies of murdering his mother.
A high school girlfriend claimed that before getting better, Grate would lie on the couch “for days” at a time. Despite being known as a pleasant young man, a court-appointed psychiatrist described Grate as “kind of a melancholy youngster,” explaining that his illness was caused by “neglect and emotional separation” experienced as a child. On June 28, 1994, Shawn and his brother’s custody was given to Terry, their father.
On November 24, 1994, he was taken into custody for snatching his girlfriend’s throat. On October 23, 1996, shortly after receiving his diploma from River Valley High School, he and a young co-conspirator broke into a Marion County home to take cash and jewels. Grate was charged with felony burglary in January 1997 and given a four-year prison sentence before being let go in the first few weeks of October 1997.
Shawn Grate, Notorious Women Serial Killer
Between 2006 and 2016, Shawn Grate terrorized northern Ohio, killing women after sexually abusing them. Thanks to the bravery of one potential victim, he is now on death row and waiting to be executed.
A woman who claimed to have been kidnapped and to be tied up just feet from her sleeping captor called Ashland police on September 13, 2016, in a whisper. The best she could manage to say about the man who was holding her captive and the house she was in was that it was close to the laundromat on Fourth Street.
Is there a method for you to leave the structure? “, the 911 operator enquired.
Without waking him up, “I don’t know, and I’m terrified,” the woman said.
The caller unintentionally knocked over her captor’s taser, waking him, as the 911 operator proceeded to help her escape.
“No. Oh (expletive) (expletive). She snarled, “Oh (crap), I just woke him up.
The phone briefly went silent, and “Jane Doe” found herself within minutes of being serial killer Shawn Grate’s sixth victim. It was now up to the cops to rush to save the defenseless woman. On the iconic 911 call, they continued with the rescue of the woman and the arrest of Grate.
Shawn Grate enjoyed being popular, especially among girls, when he was a young teen living in Marion, Ohio. His pleasant demeanor and constant smile effectively concealed his boiling anger, envy, and aggression – at least temporarily.
He was detained when he was 18 for snatching his ex-girlfriend by the throat. A few years later, he was charged with choking his 17-year-old lover after breaking into her home. Just eight months later, he broke in once more by hiding under her couch and waiting until the right moment to strike. He was holding a butcher knife this time.
Shawn Grate nevertheless attracted women with his charm and outward friendliness, and he went on to have three children with three separate women. Amber Nicole Bowman, his ex-wife, however, reportedly overheard him remark, “If I can’t see my daughter, no one will.”
When Grate was in his mid-to-late-20s, his conduct started to change. An ex-girlfriend claimed that he would occasionally descend into severe depression and be incapable of rising from the couch.
Later, he changed his mind and started dating Christina Hildreth. In the beginning, the two appeared to be content and contented, but Grate was unable to conceal his actual nature for too long. Along with becoming angry, domineering, and jealous, he also displayed coldness and indifference toward his bewildered partner.
Grate once struck his companion repeatedly in the face while squeezing her by the throat, which was unusual given that Grate preferred to kill through strangling.
For the assault, Grate was detained and sentenced to 180 days in prison.
He had issues with more than simple romantic relationships. When Grate’s friend refused his request for a loan, he texted his old friend the scary text “Meet the other me.”
After that, Grate hopped from lady to woman in the city of Mansfield, taking advantage of their sweet natures and offerings of kindness. Grate found prospects in women rather than the need to maintain work. Rebekah Leicy and Candice Cunningham, his first two victims, were introduced to him around this time.
Rebekah worked as a sex worker, and when her body was discovered in March 2015, it was determined that she had overdosed. Her premature passing, however, was not an accident.
In Mansfield, Candice Cunningham resided with Grate prior to her abduction in 2015. The police were unable to find anything at the time. Grate was the only one who was aware of Cunningham’s exact location. On the day of his arrest, he would eventually direct authorities to her body, which was discovered lying behind a burned-out home in Richland county.
With his following victim, Grate would ramp up the violence and depravity. Police have not released her name and have just referred to her as Jane Doe.
Doe got to know Grate because they used to play badminton together in her apartment complex, but as she started to trust him, he changed into the violent monster that he’d subjected dozens of other women to. He imprisoned her in his apartment and subjected her to rape and torture for days.
What were Shawn Grate’s Trials About?
Grate was charged by a grand jury with two counts of aggravated murder in the killings of Stacey Stanley and Elizabeth Griffith as well as the kidnapping and several sexual assaults of an unnamed woman, whose 911 call to Ashland police resulted in Grate’s capture on September 13, 2016. Her name is obscured in court records. Grate was charged with 23 counts total, all of which were felonies of the first, second, or third degree; lesser offenses included breaking and entering, burglary, and tampering with evidence.
Rolf Whitney, a court-appointed attorney, pleaded not guilty to all allegations on behalf of Grate, who was represented in court. Grate admitted to five killings during an interview with the media. Later, Grate’s legal representatives entered a plea of not guilty due to insanity. His trial was originally scheduled to begin on November 6, 2017, however, it was postponed to April 9, 2018. Christopher R. Tunnell, the prosecutor for Ashland County, declared that he will seek the death penalty because of the defendant’s “…depraved behavior and the grisly evidence.”
In the neighboring Richland County, Shawn Grate has also been accused of killing his ex-girlfriends Candice Cunningham and Rebekah Leicy and has also been accused of killing Dana Nicole Lowrey, 23, who passed away in 2006 and whose body was discovered in Marion County in 2007. In the second of two letters, he wrote to WEWS (News 5 Cleveland) reporter Megan Hickey, Grate explained his motivations and claimed that “government help” had taken the minds of his victims.
The state took their minds once they started receiving their monthly checks, according to Grate, who claimed they were already dead. “They were already dead, just their bodies were flopping wherever it can flop but their minds were already dead! The state took their minds.” Grate claimed he once received a $197 food card and that he “never was able to receive any encouragement, though many bodies received 700.”
Attorneys for the defense and prosecution jointly asked for and won a gag order barring Grate from speaking to the media after he revealed details of the murders to two news organizations while still in custody. Grate was declared competent to stand trial on January 6, 2017, following a competency hearing. According to a March 6 evaluation based on a January 17 evaluation to assess Grate’s claim of insanity, he was not insane when the crimes were committed. On April 7, 2017, Grate’s attorney subsequently withdrew the not guilty by reason of insanity plea.
The house where Grate was captured, two bodies were found, and police freed a kidnapped woman was given to the City of Ashland in a settlement with the owner. For the purpose of demolishing the house, the city applied for a federal grant. According to Andrew Bush, Ashland’s assistant law director:
According to a settlement agreement between the parties, the Pump House is effectively required to transfer all of the property at issue to Ashland and transfer ownership of it, as long as Ashland also pays the Muskingum Watershed District and the county’s unpaid taxes.
On April 9, 2018, Grate’s trial for the Ashland crimes began after two weeks of jury selection. On April 23, the trial’s opening statements were made. Grate, who shown little remorse, entered a guilty plea to 15 of the charges brought against him on May 2.
Grate was found guilty of killing Elizabeth Griffith and Stacey Stanley on May 7. Grate received a death sentence on June 1. After conviction, the first execution date was set on September 13, 2018. But a pending appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court caused the execution to be postponed. Robert Whitney and Rolf Whitney served as the defense attorneys during the trial. Prosecutor Chris Tunnell of Ashland, Assistant Prosecutor Michael McNamara of Medina County, and Special Prosecutor Mark Weaver made up the prosecution team.
Grate entered a plea of guilty to the murders of Rebekah Leicy and Candice Cunningham on March 1, 2019, and was given consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole for Leicy’s murder and 17 years to life for the other crimes. Dana Lowrey was killed on September 11, 2019, and Grate admitted guilt. He was given a life sentence with no chance of parole plus 16 years. On December 10, 2020, it was announced that Grate had failed in his bid to overturn the death penalty.
The Ohio Supreme Court had dismissed the appeal on the grounds that Grate’s case lacked any “reversible error” or mitigation. The death sentence for Grate is set for March 19, 2025. He will be transported to Lucasville on that day. The execution technique will be decided; Ohio will stop using lethal injection in 2020, but as of now, state law forbids using any other technique.
Who are Shawn Grate’s Victims?
The woman, known only as “Jane Doe” in the indictment, dialed 911 from the Ashland home where Grate had shackled her to a bed and held her for three days, sexually abusing her throughout that time. The Ashland police managed to save her safely. Police chose not to release the victim’s identity because she had been sexually assaulted. Grate asserts that they were going to get married and that he had no intention of killing her.
The 38-year-old Doe had first met Grate in the summer of 2016 at the Ashland Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center and had thought of Shawn as kind of an “elder brother.” In addition to eating lunch together and taking long walks, they would occasionally play tennis at Brookside Park in Ashland while frequently conversing about the Bible. She refused to share phone numbers with Grate despite his attempts to sexually entice her. Their friendship was regarded as entirely platonic.
On September 11, 2016, Grate enticed Doe to accompany him as they traveled to the Ashland residence at 363 Covert Court in order to pick up some clothing. After returning from the house’s kitchen, Grate’s cordial mood changed when Doe read the Bible in his room. Grate took the Bible out of her hand and told her that she was not “going anywhere.” When Doe protested, Grate battered and strangled her.
Grate continued to bind her in several “strange postures,” one of which would supposedly cause her to suffocate to death if she tried to escape. She claimed she had been sexually assaulted by Grate in “every way imaginable” over the course of the three-day assault, suffering head, bruise, and sexual orifice traumas as well as vaginal bleeding, and that Grate had also shaved a heart shape into her pubic hair, which was later removed after examination by a sexual assault forensic examiner.
Stacey Stanley also known Stacey Hicks
The week before Grate was taken into custody, Stanley’s family reported her missing. At the Ashland residence where Grate was detained, her body was discovered. She also goes by the name Stacy Hicks. According to an autopsy, she was killed by strangulation.
Before Grate was detained, Elizabeth Griffith had been missing for approximately a month. At the Yellow Ashland residence where Grate was detained, her body was discovered. According to an autopsy, she was killed by strangulation.
On the day of his arrest, Grate allegedly led authorities to Cunningham’s body in nearby Richland County. The body was discovered by the police behind a burned-out residence. On November 1, 2016, the Richland County Sheriff’s office formally declared that the body discovered belonged to Cunningham.
Police have renewed their investigation into Leicy’s death in light of the information provided by Grate. Her death was initially determined to be a heroin overdose when her body was discovered in March 2015. According to Grate, he choked her after she stole $4 from him at work.
Grate alleges to have murdered a second lady whose body was discovered in Marion County, Ohio in 2006 and was unsolved for 13 years. According to Grate, she went by the name Dana. Isotope research revealed in January 2018 that she most likely originated in the South of the United States. The victim was identified in June 2019 as Dana Nicole Lowrey, 23, of Minden, Louisiana, by the DNA Doe Project. When she passed away, Lowrey was divorced from the father of her two girls, who were 1 and 5 years old.