[Watch live coverage of the trial on the Law&Crime Network, with in-studio legal analysis, in the player below this article]
The trial of alleged serial killer Shawn Grate is taking place in Ohio. Grate is accused of kidnapping, raping, and murdering women in Ashland County. Grate allegedly kidnapped and sexually assaulted one woman in 2016, but she managed to call 911 while he was sleeping. When authorities arrived, they found the bodies of Stacey Stanley and Elizabeth Griffith.
Grate reportedly confessed to killing those women, and three others in other counties, claiming their minds were already dead, due to government control. Despite his admission, Grate has not pleaded guilty, so he is standing trial.
This trial is only dealing with the Ashland County allegations. Grate is facing 23 felony charges, including aggravated murder, kidnapping, gross abuse of a corpse, burglary, tampering with evidence, rape, aggravated robbery, unauthorized use of a vehicle and tampering with evidence.
Judge Ron Forsthoefel announced that the trial will be split into parts: first, the jury will determine whether Grate is guilty of the offenses and with the required sexual motivation for the crimes. If he is found guilty, the jury will then hear a trial to determine whether the sexually violent predator specifications apply. After that, if Grate is found guilty, there could be a break for a few weeks before the sentencing phase of the trial begins, where the jury would determine whether the death penalty should apply.
Grate’s defense has claimed that he suffers from various mental disorders, which the jury may view as mitigating factors when deciding on the death penalty.
[Image via Ashland County Sheriff’s Office]