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CLEVELAND URBAN NEWS.COM-CLEVELAND, Ohio- Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Judge Nancy McDonnell on Thursday handed a death sentence to convicted East Cleveland serial killer Michael Madison.
Some greater Cleveland community activists are pleased with the outcome.
"We are pleased with Judge McDonnell's death penalty decision and we hope that Mr. Madison rots in hell for his heinous crimes against these innocent Black women," said community activist Kathy Wray Coleman, who leads the greater Cleveland grassroots group the Imperial Women Coalition and has led rallies around the murders, rallies that were covered by local and national mainstream television stations, including CNN's Anderson Cooper 360.
A largely White 12-member jury, on May 5, and after nearly five weeks of trial, found Madison, 39, guilty on 13 counts, all but a gun specification charge, including rape, abuse of a corpse and three counts each of kidnapping and aggravated murder.
That same jury recommended the death penalty to the judge for consideration, the harshest penalty under state law for a capital murder conviction, and she obliged.
His victims were Angela Deskins, 38 and of Cleveland, Shetisha Sheeley, 28, and Shirellda Terry, 18 and also of Cleveland.
Madison did not take the stand at trial and he and his public defender attorneys want his life spared.
Madison and the three women he murdered and mutilated are Black.
The remains of the three women were found wrapped in trash bags in 2013 near the intersection of Shaw and Hayden Avenues in East Cleveland, a largely Black and impoverished suburb of Cleveland.
"We support the judge's decision and he got what he deserved," said Angelique Malone, one of eight surviving grown children of Christine Malone, whose dead body was discovered in May 2013 on the city's majority Black east side.
Two other women, Jasmine Trotter, 20, and Ashley Leszyeski, 21, were also murdered in 2013 between March and May like Malone, the bodies of the three women, two Black and one White, found separately and in different spots on a mile-long strip along East 93rd Street beginning at Bessemer Avenue and extending to Harvard Avenue. Their serial killer remains at large.
Madison was convicted on 13 counts, all but the gun specification charge, including rape, abuse of a corpse and three counts each of kidnapping and aggravated murder relative to Deskins, Sheeley and Terry.
Madison has said that he does not want to be compared to serial killer and death row inmate Anthony Sowell, who murdered 11 Black women and raped several others at his since demolished home on Imperial Avenue on Cleveland's largely Black east side.
Prosecutors played an audiotape at trial of police interrogations of the serial killer where he admitted to killing Sheeley, whom he knew, and Terry, whom he met as she was coming home from a summer tutoring job. He said that he did not remember if he murdered Deskins and, per the audiotape, that his mother's high expectations and his failure to meet them drove him to drink and spoke marijuana, which he sold to make ends meet.
Deskins and Sheeley were strangled to death, and the remains of Terry were too decomposed to access the extent of the damage, the Cuyahoga County medical examiner said.
Police found the first of the three bodies on July 19, 2013 after a foul smell was reported coming from a garage leased to Madison. The other two remains were discovered a day later, one in the backyard of an abandoned home and the other in the basement of a nearby vacant house.
Deskins was reported missing in June 2013, Sheeley in September 2012, and Terry was last seen leaving her summer job at Carver Elementary School in Cleveland on July 10, 2013.