Victim’s Father Lunges At Killer In Courtroom
( 4UMF NEWS ) Victim's Father Lunges At Killer In Courtroom:
The father of a woman slain by a convicted Ohio serial killer lunged at his daughter’s smirking murderer during a sentencing hearing Thursday.
Michael Madison, 38, received a death sentence moments before Van Terry dove over a table to grab at Madison’s face and throat, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported.
"How are you doing, your honor, my name is Van Terry, father of Shirellda Terry," he said at a podium in the Cleveland courtroom in a video of the hearing published by the newspaper. "Right now, I guess we're supposed to, in our hearts, forgive this clown."
He then turned around and looked at Madison sitting next to his lawyers.
Terry started, "He touched our families, taking my town ..." and trailed off before leaning on his elbow and staring at Madison for a few seconds. Family members told WJW-TV Madison was smiling and taunting his three victims' loved ones during the hearing.
Terry pushed the podium away and threw himself at Madison, getting bear-hugged by a courtroom bailiff in the process. Several bailiffs subdued Terry as audience members cried out “No! No! No!” and "Oh my God!"
The officers brought the manacled murderer to safety and escorted Terry and another audience member from the courtroom. The hearing went into a recess after the struggle.
Representatives for the Cuyahoga County Sheriff didn't immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday afternoon.
Darren Toms, a spokesman for the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court said officials are aware of the incident.
"Because it is under investigation, we cannot comment further," he said in an email.
Terry's daughter was 18 years old when investigators said Madison killed her in 2013. The sex offender was convicted last month on charges that he killed her and two other women, 38-year-old Angela Deskins and 28-year-old Shetisha Sheeley, and dumped their bodies in trash bags near his East Cleveland apartment.
A jury had recommended lethal injection for Madison on his rap of multiple counts of aggravated murder, kidnapping and abuse of a corpse. Judge Nancy McDonnell opted for the death penalty rather than life in prison without parole, according to the Plain Dealer.
Madison's case drew national attention two years after the conviction of Anthony Sowell on charges he killed 11 women whose bodies were found at his Cleveland home. Madison's lawyers said he struggled with psychological trauma and substance abuse stemming from an abusive stepfather and drug-addicted mother.
Police said a cable television worker alerted them in July 2013 to an odor coming from a garage used by tenants of Madison's building. Officers later discovered the three women's bodies, and medical examiners said two of the women, Deskins and Terry, had been strangled. The coroners did not determine an exact cause of death for the third victim.
East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton spoke at a funeral in August 2013 for Terry, the Plain Dealer reported at the time. The death of Terry, a home-schooled religious Christian who loved reading and was nicknamed "Ladybug" by her mother, served to unite the community in spite of the tragedy, Norton said.
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