LIVE UPDATES: Shawn Grate Murder Trial

  • 4/23/2018 8:04:12 AM
  • Larry Stine
  • Local News

ASHLAND, OH - Stay up to date with the latest updates from the Shawn Grate Jury Trial. 

You can watch live on WMFD-TV's Facebook page.

You can also watch live on livestream.com. Click here to view the stream.

**The following content may not be appropriate for all ages.**

5/18/2018

7:46 PM - Court has reconvened to reach a verdict and deliver sentences for counts one and seven. The jurors completed forms for count one and recommended a sentence of death. In the form of count seven, the jurors recommended a sentence of death.

4:23 PM - Prosecutor Tunnel has finished his rebuttal statement.

4:10 PM - The Prosecution implored the jury to sentence Grate to die, while the defense is arguing in their closing statement that life without parole is "an adequate sentence that will serve justice in both the state of Ohio and Ashland County, Ohio." Whitney called the verdict of death 'Murder.' Prosecutor Tunnel is giving a rebuttal to the closing argument presented by the defense at this time. 

3:54 PM - Prosecution has delivered their closing statement, Defense is delivering their statement at this time.

3:30 PM - Recess is ending, Judge Forsthoefel has returned and so have the Jurors. 

2:38 PM - Dr. Fabian's questioning has been completed and he has been excused from the stand. Court is entering recess before closing arguments.

2:20 PM - Judge Forsthoefel is getting testy with the witness, telling him to answer question's directly. Prosecution is going after Fabian about his ADHD diagnosis, citing psychology texts and claiming his diagnosis was incorrectly reached.

2:16 PM - Prosecution is back to grilling Fabian on his varied diagnosis' of Grate. 

2:03 PM - Grate has returned to the court room and todays session will resume momentarily.

1:05 PM - Court has begun an hour long lunch recess.

12:39 PM - Fabian believes Grate is NOT insane and does not qualify for the insanity defense.

12:23 PM - Prosecution has begun questioning Fabian.

12:22 PM - Fabian believes Grate's traumatic childhood and deep hatred for his mother contributed heavily to his lack of development and his decision making as an adult.

12:06 PM - Fabian: "My opinion is that there is something wrong with his (Grate) brain. To use an analogy, if we have a car that's supposed to have four wheels, he has about three."

11:48 AM - Fabian is walking through Grate's depression and bipolar issues. He is walking through his different diagnoses.

11:42 AM - Technical Issues inside the courtroom have made the last few minutes impossible to hear.

11:26 AM - Fabian is discussing Grates childhood and early issues relating to mental illness, learning disability, and concussive effects.

11:08 AM - Defense is questioning Fabian extensively, establishing his credibility and background.

10:53 AM - Defense Calls Dr. John Matthew Fabian, Forensic Psychologist, as court returns to session.

10:30 AM - Court has taken a 15 minute recess.

10:26 AM - Tunnell is using stories from Barb's involvement with Grate to outline his behavioral issues. Citing Shawn needing to get back at Barb for not getting his way. Barb told a story about Grate leaving her home unsecure so she would get broken into because she had asked Shawn to quiet down one night.

10:12 AM - Tunnell has begun questioning the witness.

10:08 AM - Grate's sister is describing the cold, unloving environment they grew up in. She is citing incidents with Shawn involving attacking his mother's boyfriend.

9:40 AM - Barb, Grate's sister, is discussing her family's unfortunate history and backstory.

9:33 AM - Grate's older sister has taken the stand and is being questioned by Grate's attorneys.

9:15 AM - Christopher Tunnell gives his opening statements and urges the jury to consider the death penalty, while Grate's attorneys choose not to give any opening statements.

9:00 AM - Court resumes for the first portion of the sentencing phase.

5/7/2018

6:17 PM - Court adjourns. Phase two, the sentencing, will take place May 18th, at 9:00 AM.

5:20 PM - Court reconvenes after the jury deliberated. The court will move into the sentencing phase of the trial after Grate received guilty verdicts on all charges.

3:38 PM - Court is temporarily adjourned to allow jury deliberation.

3:20 PM - Court resumed. Judge Forsthofel talked with both counsels about sentencing phases and scheduling for further court dates. 

1:30 PM - The jury has been given instructions on deliberating a guilty or not guilty decision. the court was then dismissed for lunch and deliberation. 

11:30 AM - Robert Whitney presented his closing argument to the jury. 

9:13 AM - Closing arguments have started. Prosecutor Christopher Tunnell will start with his closing argument. 

5/2/2018

The trial will continue Monday, May 7th.

12:10 PM - Court will resume around 2:00 PM

12:00 PM - A cell phone video is being played that shows Shawn Grate assaulting Stacy Stanley.

9:16 a.m. - Ashland County Prosecutor Christopher Tunnell talks to Ashland County Common Pleas Court Judge Ron Forsthieful about defense attornies Robert Whitney and Rolf Whitney about defendant Shawn Grate wanting to change his not guilty plea to guilty on 15 of the 23 counts against him with specifications to five of the 15 counts.

5/1/18

2:27 PM - Hammett's testimony ends and she is dismissed from the witness stand. The court is adjourned at 2:33 PM and the trial will resume at 10:30 AM Wednesday morning.

1:50 PM - Christine Hammett, a Forensic Scientist from the Ohio Attorney General's Office BCI, took the stand. She described how she goes about analyzing physical evidence and presented a list of evidence collected in a rape kit. Hammett also described the process in which DNA samples are collected from swabs and analyzed. DNA analysis was also done on a sample taken from Grate's person. Other pieces of evidence that samples were collected from, referred to as homemade "sexual devices," were listed as being made from condoms, socks, duct tape, aluminum foil, paper, a towel, a shirt, a candle, a wooden stick, and a ball. Each layer was swabbed as the individual devices were separated. The bodies of Stacy Hicks and Elizabeth Griffith were also swabbed for DNA evidence.

1:44 PM - Beth Jackenheimer, an investigator with the Ashland County Coroner's Office, takes the stand. She is discussing her role at the crime scene upon arrival.

1:42 PM - Dr. Thomae is shown Elizabeth Griffith and Stacy Stanley's death certificates and confirms their cause of death.

1:34 PM - After a lunch break, Ashland County Coroner Dr. Dale Thomae takes the stand.

12:07 PM - Dr. Todd Barr is explaining the condition of the body of Stacey Stanley when she was brought in for an autopsy.

11:53 AM - Dr. Todd Barr states that it was found that a sleeper hold was the cause of death to Elizabeth Griffith. A sleeper hold can cause death if held for 3-5 minutes. 

11:30 AM - Dr. Todd Barr, former medical examiner with the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office, is explaining what he found when examining Elizabeth Griffith's Body.

9:30 a.m. - Lt. Garry Alting with the Ashland Police Department talks about the death investigation of Stacey Stanley.

9"50 a.m. Lt. Tim Shreffler with the Ashland Police Department talks about going to the home at 363 Covert Court after a 9-1-1 call about an abducted woman who was being held there by Shawn Grate,

9:20 a.m. - Jimmy Hsu of Alpha Denya; talks about supplying authorities with X-rays of Elizabeth Griffith's jaw and mount,

9:05 a.m. - Sara Fairchild, former coordinator of social services at the Ashland Salvation Army Kroc Center talked about meeting Shawn Grate and telling him about what services they provide and about seeing him with Jane Doe at times eating lunch there.

4/30/18

4:20 p.m. Court adjourns after Evans' testimony. The trial will resume Tuesday at 8 AM.

1:35 p.m. Ashland Police Detective Brian Evans testifies about the "chain of custody" of evidence taken from the crime scene at 363 Covert Court in Ashland: "So you know where it is." He then identified various items taken from the home, cell phones, keys from Stacey Stanley's car, brass knuckles, Stanley's Ohio Directions Card and other items. He also talked about his training in extracting data from the cell phones taken from the crime scene. Evans said Grate used money taken from Jane Doe's apartment to visit the East Main Street Circle K store and buy a pack of cigarettes and a drink around 8 PM on September 12th, which was later verified after obtaining the store's surveillance video. In cross-examination, the Defense asked about discussions that Evans had with Grate. According to Evans, when being asked how he was able to choke victims, Evans asked Grate if he would like a stuffed animal or a toy to demonstrate on. Grate "smirked" and said he'd like to demonstrate on Evans himself, to which Evans returned a smirking look.

1:25 p.m. Circle K manager Deborah Steinhour testified about her store at 411 East Main Street in Ashland having surveillance cameras at the location.

11:30 a.m. Detective Kim Mager states that Grate told her he stole a safe and was using tools to try and pry open the safe. Pictures of the items used were shown to confirm Grate's story. 

11:23 a.m. Pictures of inside Shawn Grate's House are being shown to the court. Multiple boxes of "Love Roses" were found within the house. Love Roses are small glass tubes containing roses in them. Love Roses were found in Stacey Stanley's vehicle. 

10:50 a.m. Testimony by Ashland Police Detective Kim Mager continued.

10:32 a.m. A short recess was taken.

9:10 a.m, Ashland Police Detective Kim Mager took the stand to deliver testimony about Shawn Grate saying he had aDaily Reader in which he wrote down two specific dates. August 17, 2016, was one date he wrote down was when he killed Elizabeth Griffith and September 9 was the date he said he killed Stacey Stanley.

9:15 AM - More recordings are being played of Shawn Grate talking with detectives 

9:00 AM - Day 6 of the Shawn Grate Murder Trial has started. 

4/27/18

4:30 PM - Court adjourns for the weekend. The trial will resume Monday morning at 9 AM.

4:25 PM - A cellphone video from Mager's phone is played for the courtroom showing Grate re-enacting exactly how he killed Elizabeth and Stacey. 

4:01 PM - The interview recording being played currently is mostly focused on evidence found in the house including victims belongings, various tools, and sexual items. Grate is also describing how long he was with the victims before killing them.

3:46 PM - The new recording is detailing why the bodies found in the house at Covert Court were positioned in the ways they were found, and Grate is explaining their positioning and condition.

3:43 PM - In a new recording, Grate is telling police how he would strangle. 

3:36 PM - Court is back in session.

3:14 PM - Court is taking its afternoon recess.

3:05 PM - Grate tells Detective Mager in her last interview tape explicit details about his sexual interests.

2:49 PM - The previous recording ends, Mager had needed a break. A new recording is being played in the courtroom.

2:29 PM - In a new recording, Mager asks Grate why he kept Stacey's body in the house, and why he did not move her car. Mager also asks Grate if the escaped victim noticed any strange odors in the house. 

2:26 PM - Mager states that she was in contact with investigators while they were searching the house. 

2:19 PM - In the recording, Grate is describing his interactions with Stacey Stanley

2:10 PM - In the same recording, Shawn Grate admits that there is another body in the house, and says that it's in the basement. When asked who it is, Grate says "Stacey."

2:00 PM - A recording after Shawn Grate confessed that he killed Elizabeth is playing in the courtroom. In the recording, Grate describes his interactions with Elizabeth.

1:57 PM - Court has returned from a one-hour recess. 

12:57 PM - Court is now in a one hour recess for lunch.

12:50 PM - Grate admits to Mager through tears that he killed Elizabeth and tells her where her body is at the house on Covert Court.

12:25 PM - Mager tells Grate in the recording "We can't find Elizabeth right now. But we will."

12:11 PM - In the recording, Mager is pushing grate for answers "We know what you did to her."

11:51 AM - Grate and Mager are discussing Grate's motivations behind what he did to the victim at this point in the interview.

11:36 AM - Prosecution is beginning to play a recording of Detective Mager's initial interview with Shawn Grate.

11:30 AM - Mager is detailing her first interaction with the escaped victim upon her arrival at the Ashland Police Department, as well as her initial questioning of Shawn Grate.

11:23 AM - Captain Lay says "I believed he had killed her" about Elizabeth Griffith before being excused from questioning. Detective Kim Mager is called for questioning.

11:17 AM - Recording has ended. The Prosecution is now questioning Captain regarding one of Elizabeth's phones and her phone records.

11:12 AM - Still playing the recordings. Captain is asking Grate for details of what he did to her while she was restrained.

10:50 AM - In the recording, Grate is talking about helping Elizabeth find peace but won't tell the Captain where she is.

10:36 AM - Court resumes.

10:17 AM - Court is taking a short recess for a morning break. The audio recording is still being played.

9:45 AM - Grate admits in the recording that he knew Elizabeth Griffith through the escaped victim, but seems hesitant to talk about her disappearance.

9:30 AM - In the audio recording, Grate admits to Lay that he abducted the escaped victim, saying he just wanted to spend time with her. He also admits that he had sex with her multiple times despite the fact that she may not have wanted to.

9:12 AM - Court begins. Captain Lay is still on the stand. He has been walking through Ashland Police evidence reports. An audio recording from Ashland PD's interview room between himself and Shawn Grate is now being played.

4/26/18

5:00 PM - Trial has concluded for the day. The trial will resume at 9:00 AM Friday morning.

3:35 PM - Ashland Police Captain David Lay takes the stand.

3:25 PM - An audio recording is being played of Officer Dorsey's interview with Grate upon finding him at the scene.

2:55 PM - Officer Curtis Dorsey takes the stand and describes responding to Svihlik's 911 call.

2:40 PM - Court has resumed and Tamara Whelen of Nankin is called to the stand.

1:37 PM - Cross-examination ends and court will take an hour lunch break.

1:29 PM - Cross-examination of the witness begins.

1:06 PM - Court is taking a short break.

1:00 PM - The witness says the police then took Grate out of the home. After the police allowed her to get dressed, she was taken to the police station to talk with detectives.

12:55 PM - She goes on to talk about the night she was able to escape. She was able to find a phone one night while Grate was asleep and called 911. She was also holding a taser that she had grabbed while searching for a cell phone. She talked with police dispatch while still in the bedroom with Grate. "At least they knew my name," she said. During the phone call she accidentally activated the taser which made a loud noise. Grate sat up momentarily, still half-asleep, but laid back down. Police were able to get to the house and she was able to get out of the bedroom.

12:50 PM - The witness describes going into Grate's house on Covert Court to pick up some clothes he wanted to give her and to leave a bible with him that he had wanted to borrow. From here, she describes how he took the bible out of her hands and said, "you're not going anywhere." She goes on to describe being sexually assaulted by Grate repeatedly.

12:05 PM - The witness talks about how she lived in the building next door to Elizabeth Griffith. She was there when Shawn met Elizabeth, it was while they were outside playing badminton together.

11:45 PM - A female witness has taken the stand who had spent consistent time with Grate in July of 2016. She said they met at the Kroc Center and had lunch together multiple times. They would take walks together and she described him as an "older brother" type. They often played tennis together and while he had at one point conveyed romantic interest in her, she made it clear she was not interested.

11:35 PM - Court resumes with full number of jurors.

11:30 PM - The Judge has suddenly ordered a short recess for the jury and has asked Juror #23 to come to his chambers. The reasoning as of now is unclear.

9:45 AM - University Hospitals Samaritan Medical Center Registered Nurse Lori Riley testifies about her examination of Jane Doe on September 3, 2016.

9:30 Am - Testimony began from Ashland County Sheriff's Sgt. Mike Freelon who talked about jail inmate Shawn Grate requesting to speak to Ashland Police Detective Kim Mager.

9:25 AM - Ohio BCI Special Agent David Hammond gave testimony regarding his evidence collection on September 13, 2016, taking DNA swab samples of Shawn Grate at the Ashland Police Department.

 

4/25/18

3:20 PM - Trial has concluded for the day. The trial will resume at 8:45 AM Thursday morning.

3:17 PM - The Recess has ended and the prosecution has called Deputy Robert Ross of the Ashland County Jail. Ross is being questioned about a series of conversations he had with Shawn Grate in September 2016.

3:02 PM - Court is in recess as the next witness is prepared.

2:58 PM - Cody Mager of the Ashland County Sheriff's Office has taken the witness stand. Mager's interaction with Grate has been through his interaction with him as a master control officer inside Ashland County Jail. Grate had contacted master control asking to speak to APD's Kim Mager.

2:42 PM - Detective Lieutenant Scott D. Smart of the Ashland County Sheriff's Office has been called to testify. Smart was one of three detectives who discovered and investigated the suspect's alleged campsite.

2:36 PM - Connor is identifying objects that were believed to be stolen from his property by the suspect. He is confirming the items would have been sold at his store at the time of the break-in.

2:24 PM - Trial has returned from recess and the prosecution has called another witness, Kirk Connor of Mifflin. He is being questioned about a break-in at one of his properties. 

2:04 PM - The second ranger from Charles Mill Lake park is testifying and only answers 3 questions before the court takes a recess. 

1:50 PM - Charles Mill Lake Park Ranger Bittinger is testifying regarding the break-ins at the campground. 

1:30 PM - A Mansfield Police Officer is giving testimony about his investigation in the Charles Mill Campground.

1:05 PM - A resident of the Charles Mill Campground is giving testimony stating that their trailer was broken into.

1:00 PM - After a lunch break, the trial has resumed.

10:00 AM - Testimony from residents of a local trailer park is being presented right now

9:00 AM - Third Day of the Shawn Grate trial has started.

 

4/24/18

5:05 PM - Tuesday's session has concluded. Judge Forsthoefel has declared proceedings will resume Wednesday at 8:45 AM.

4:55 PM - A friend of the Stanley family takes the stand. He described a time where he was called to help Stacey with a flat tire at a local gas station. Upon arrival, he found Stacey there with Shawn Grate.

4:45 PM - Stanley's son describes finding his mother's home locked and empty while searching for her. He eventually got inside to find that her pets had been uncared for at least a few days. Upon finding her car, it was clear that someone else had been driving it based on the fact that the seat was pushed much farther back and there were unfamiliar cigarette butts inside. He mentions she had been going through rehab and recovery since January of 2016. "She was doing fantastic, excellent, best I'd ever seen her," he said.

4:30 PM - Stacey Stanley's son takes the stand.

1:55 PM - Court resumes at 1:30 PM after a lunch break and the exploration of evidence continues.

12:30 PM - A leather pouch is shown as evidence containing Shawn Grate's Ohio ID, social security card, and a debit card with Stacey Hicks' name on it.

12:20 PM - A pair of brass knuckles are shown as evidence.

12:10 PM - Another stun gun, separate from the one designed as a cell phone, is shown to the court as evidence.

11:50 AM - Pieces of evidence are being listed, shown, and discussed including a cell phone that was found in the bathroom of the home, women's clothing, duct tape, a makeshift sex toy, and a suspected stun gun made to look like a cell phone.

11:00 AM - During the walkthrough of the home, the agent describes discovering two corpses in the home; one upstairs and another in the basement underneath a pile of trash.

10:10 AM - After some technical issues, we are streaming again. The same witness from the end of yesterdays session has returned and we are continuing a photograph walkthrough of the house.

4/23/18

4:45 PM - Monday's session has concluded. Judge Forsthoefel has declared proceedings will resume Tuesday at 9:00 AM

4:30 PM - For about the last hour, agents who executed initial search warrants of the household are walking the prosecution through photos of the residence.

3:05 PM - Courtroom is being shown a virtual tour of the house Shawn Grate resided in

2:30 PM - Courtroom excused for a short restroom break. 

2:05 PM - Ashland Police officer Jim Cox has taken the witness stand.

1:10 PM - The 9-1-1 call from a woman who was allegedly abducted by Grate is being played in the courtroom.

1:00 PM - Prosecutor Tunnell has brought an Ashland Police Dispatcher to the witness stand. 

12:05 PM - Judge Ron Forsthoefel dismisses court for lunch break.

10:40 AM - Prosecutor Chis Tunnell has begun giving his opening statement. 

10:15 AM - Judge has dismissed everyone for a short break.  

10:00 AM - Judge Ron Forsthoefel explaining to the jury on court procedures during the trial. 

9:30 AM - The trial has officially started. 

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In September 2016, Grate was arrested in Ashland after a woman he allegedly abducted called 9-1-1 as he was asleep.

He pleaded not guilty to the abduction and sexual assault of the woman who called 9-1-1 and the deaths of 43-year-old Stacey Stanley and 29-year-old Elizabeth Griffith, whose bodies were found by police in a vacant home at 363 Covert Court in Ashland. Autopsies determined they had been strangled.

He is also awaiting charges in Richland County after the discovery of an unidentified woman's body in a wooded area behind 1027 Park Avenue East.

Grate also has confessed to killing an unidentified woman whose body was found in Marion County. 

On September 22, 2016, an Ashland County Grand Jury handed a down a 23-count felony indictment against Grate. Two of the charges are for aggravated murder, along with rape, kidnapping, felonious assault and abuse of a corpse.

In March of 2017, a report from the Forensic Diagnostic Center indicated that there were no findings that would support a not guilty by reason of insanity plea, stating that Grate was sane at the time of the crimes. 

Tunnell is seeking the death penalty against the suspected serial killer.

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