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Cops: 'Polite' Serial Killer Murdered 5, Maybe More

He killed first victim in 2005, police say
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 20, 2016 1:01 PM CDT
Cops: 'Polite' Serial Killer Murdered 5, Maybe More
Shawn M. Grate.   (Ashland County Sheriff Office /The Times Gazette via AP)

A suspected serial killer is now linked to five deaths, police say, and authorities think the number may grow. In the newest revelation, Shawn Grate, 40—arrested in Ohio last week—has admitted to killing his first victim in 2005 in Marion County, police say. Grate reportedly told police he stabbed the unknown woman—whose remains were discovered in 2007 but have yet to be identified—because his mother ordered magazines from her that never arrived, per People and WOIO. Grate said he returned to her shallow grave a year after the murder to burn her body to ensure his DNA wouldn't be found, police say. Authorities believe Grate also strangled Rebekah Leicy, whose remains were found in a field in Ashland in March 2015, reports the Washington Post.

After Grate was discovered holding a woman captive in a home where the remains of two other women—Stacey Stanley, 43, and Elizabeth Griffin, 29—were found last week, police say he led authorities to the body of yet another woman, Candice Cunningham, 29, reports Fox 8. She is believed to have died in June. Grate, jailed on $1 million bail, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder and one count of kidnapping so far with more charges expected. "He's obviously a serial killer," the Marion County sheriff says, adding that Grate was "very polite" during questioning. "It's hard to believe there aren't other bodies out there." An ex-girlfriend tells WOIO that Grate previously beat her up, stalked her, and promised "he would come back to get me. … Had I not got away, it could've very well been me." (Read more Ohio stories.)

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