An Ohio jury will decide whether convicted murderer Shawn Grate will get the death penalty for the murder and kidnapping of Elizabeth Griffith and Stacey Stanley. The jury convicted Grate after the guilt phase of the trial, which now moves on to the penalty phase. Watch live in the player above when court begins at approximately 9:00 a.m. ET.
Testimony during the trial revealed that Grate held a woman against her will in an abandoned house. There, he bound her and raped her. After several days of attacks, Grate fell asleep. The victim was able to free herself, get her hands on a phone, and call 911. When the police arrived, officers found two other decaying bodies sealed up in the house. Grate later showed police a choke hold he claims to have used to kill those victims. He also told reporters that he had killed additional victims, but that remains officially unconfirmed. The surviving victim testified about her horrific ordeal at trial. Officers and laboratory analysis discussed the two victims who were found dead.
Grate pleaded guilty to fifteen of the 23 charges he faced mid-trial. He told the judge he was pleading guilty to those charges — which included burglary, rape, and gross abuse of a corpse — to avoid continuing to rub his crimes into people’s faces. None of those charges carried a possible death sentence.
Aaron Keller contributed to this report.
[Image via Law&Crime Network screengrab]