MARION, Ohio — An Ohio suspect linked to the slayings of at least four women says he can’t remember the name of the first victim, who died more than a decade ago and hasn’t been identified, a sheriff said.
Marion County Sheriff Tim Bailey said suspect Shawn Gate thinks the woman was named something like Dana or Diane but is unsure, The Marion Star (http://ohne.ws/2czO7em ) reported.
“This was his first murder, and he’s having trouble remembering some of the details of it,” Bailey said this week.
Grate has said a woman in her mid-20s was selling magazines door-to-door and sold some to his mother but failed to deliver them. So he abducted the woman, stabbed her and dumped her body, Grate confessed to authorities, Bailey said.
Authorities found a woman’s body in 2007 near Marion.
Grate, 40, hasn’t been charged in that case but is charged in Ashland County in two killings and a kidnapping. He pleaded not guilty to initial charges and is scheduled for arraignment Thursday on a 23-count indictment that includes aggravated murder and rape charges.
Grate was arrested recently after a woman called authorities to report she was being held in an Ashland home. Police freed the woman and found the remains of two other women at the property. The bodies were identified as 29-year-old Elizabeth Griffith, of Ashland, and 43-year-old Stacey Stanley, of Greenwich.
Investigators say Grate also led them to an unidentified body in Richland County, near Mansfield.
Prosecutors in Ashland County plan to seek the death penalty if Grate is convicted.
Information from: The Marion Star, http://www.marionstar.com