Convicted killer Shawn Grate pleads guilty to two more murder charges

Local News
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RICHLAND COUNTY, Ohio (WCMH) — An Ohio man sentenced to death for the killings of two women pleaded guilty to two more murder charges Friday.

Victims connected to the two new murder charges were identified as Candace Cunningham and Rebekah Leicy.

Last year, Grate was convicted of strangling 43-year-old Stacey Stanley and 29-year-old Elizabeth Griffith to death in Ashland County.

Friday, he pleaded guilty to two counts of murder and two counts of gross abuse of a corpse. He was sentenced to life with no parole. This sentence is in addition to his death sentence from 2018.

The prosecutor said Friday they wanted to provide closure to the families of the victims, and ensure that Grate would spend life behind bars.

An occasional drifter described as a charmer with a dark side, Grate was found guilty in 2018 of strangling the two women whose bodies were found underneath piles of clothes in a vacant home. Their bodies were found after a third woman called 911 and said she was being held captive.

Grate moved from place to place in Ashland and Mansfield — two cities that sit between Cleveland and Columbus.

He sometimes lived with women he had met or squatted in abandoned homes.

Authorities have said that Grate confessed after his September 2016 arrest to killing Candice Cunningham at a vacant Richland County home. Her body was found in a nearby ravine.

Grate also has been linked to the 2015 slaying of Rebekah Leicy. Her body was found in Ashland County.

This story will be updated with more information.

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