Updated: 10/31/2013 9:35 AM KSTP.com
(AP) CLEVELAND - A sex offender suspected of killing three Ohio women pleaded not guilty Thursday to updated charges including aggravated murder that could lead to a death sentence if he’s convicted.
Deputies escorted Michael Madison, 36, in shackles and an orange jail jump suit into court for a brief arraignment on an updated indictment that added the death penalty option.
Madison’s attorney, David Grant, spoke for his client, entering the not guilty plea and waiving a legal indictment notification deadline. Grant had lobbied against making it a death penalty case but said he wasn’t surprised by the decision.
Madison is accused of killing three women and leaving the bodies in trash bags in a rundown East Cleveland neighborhood. They were found in July after police were called about an odor coming from a garage.
The medical examiner said victims Shirellda H. Terry, 18, and Angela H. Deskins, 38, were strangled. Shetisha D. Sheeley, 28, died of "homicidal violence by unspecified means," the examiner said.
The 14-count updated indictment includes two counts each of aggravated murder for each victim, reflecting allegations that the alleged crimes were a pattern and were done while committing another felony.
The indictment also includes three counts of kidnapping, three counts of gross abuse of a corpse, one count of rape and one of weapons possession by an ex-convict.
Madison was classified as a sex offender in 2002 when he was sentenced to four years in prison for attempted rape, according to court records. He had drug-related convictions in 2000 and 2001.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)