EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio man possibly influenced by a serial killer was charged Monday with aggravated murder after three bodies wrapped in trash bags were found in suburban Cleveland.
A call to police Friday led authorities to a home and a standoff with the man, who was eventually taken into custody, East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton said.
Michael Madison, 35, was charged with three counts each of aggravated murder and kidnapping. He didn’t enter a plea at a brief court appearance where bail was set at $6 million. He also waived his right to a preliminary hearing.
Police and volunteers scoured about 40 empty homes Sunday until their search was suspended, with no immediate plans to resume.
Authorities said they had identified only one of the victims, Angela Deskins, who was believed to be 38 years old. The other two bodies were too badly decomposed to identify. The medical examiner also said he couldn’t determine at this time a cause of death because of the bodies’ conditions.
Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner Thomas Gilson said fingerprints, dental records and DNA genetic material would be used to try to identify the other two victims. One had numerous tattoos, including the left thumb, left forearm, left thigh and left breast.
At some point, Gilson said, his office might seek DNA samples from relatives of missing women who might be victims.
Ali Bilal, 31, of East Cleveland, sitting in the neighborhood where the bodies were found, said he knew Deskins casually and called her friendly and nice to be around.
“I knew her as a nice person. We spoke here and there, she used to come over and talk to my brother,” he said. “For the most part, she was a sweetheart, real nice conversation, pretty much a good person to talk to, good person to be around.”
He wasn’t familiar with her personal life.
The mayor has said the suspect indicated he might have been influenced by the earlier case of a Cleveland serial killer convicted in the deaths of 11 women.
Norton thanked law enforcement agencies for their help. Without it, he said, “We might not have accomplished the apprehension of a suspect who we believe if left on the street just one day longer may have put the lives of others in danger.”