Serial killer confesses to two more slayings

Zoe Greszler • Updated Mar 1, 2019 at 7:12 PM

MANSFIELD — Shawn Grate, who already sits on death row, confessed to two more killings Friday.

Last May, the 43-year-old Ashland resident admitted to the slayings of Greenwich resident Stacey Stanley, 43, and Elizabeth Griffith, 29. As a result, Grate received the death penalty.

Now the convicted murderer has added two more confirmed victims to his list.

During his change-of-plea hearing Friday in Richland County Common Pleas Court, Grate admitted Rebekah Leicy and Candice Cunningham died at his hand from strangulation, according to the Mansfield News Journal. Both women were from Richland County.

Leicy’s body was found in a wooded area of Ashland County in 2015. The crime is suspected to have occurred between Jan. 1 and Feb. 6, 2015, at 32 N. Walnut St. in Mansfield, the newspaper reported.

Cunningham, who was found behind a burned up Madison Township home in September 2016, was killed in June 2016, according to what Grate said in court, the newspaper reported.

Grate pleaded guilty to Leicy’s aggravated murder and the gross abuse of her corpse and to the murder and gross abuse of Cunningham’s corpse. He was originally charged with 14 counts related to the two deaths, the remaining 10 charges being dropped as part of the plea deal.

Judge Brent Robinson sentenced the Ashland man to life in prison without the possibility of parole, according to Cleveland TV station Fox 8.

The victims' family members addressed the court during the sentencing. According to Fox 8, one family member described Grate as "a monster who deserves a cruel death."

Grate responded with a brief apology the News-Journal reported.

"I apologize for my actions. I can't change nothing," he said.

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