Defense: Abusive upbringing led Ohio man to kill 3 women

CLEVELAND (AP) — A man convicted of killing three women whose bodies were found wrapped in garbage bags was left without a moral compass because of “generations” of abuse, his attorneys said during the penalty phase of his trial.

Attorneys made the statement Thursday as a Cleveland jury began hearing arguments on whether Michael Madison should receive the death penalty, reported ( ).

Madison was convicted last week of aggravated murder and kidnapping in the deaths of 38-year-old Angela Deskins, 28-year-old Shetisha Sheeley and 18-year-old Shirellda Terry. He strangled the women and stuffed their bodies into garbage bags. They were found in July 2013 near the East Cleveland apartment building where Madison lived.

His attorney acknowledged during trial that Madison had killed the women but said it wasn’t premeditated and occurred during fits of rage.

Prosecutors said Madison, 38, deserves to die, but defense attorneys told jurors that Madison’s young, single mother was a heroin addict and a prostitute who rarely let him see other children and physically abused him. Psychological experts said the lack of nurturing relationships with adults led him to develop an alternate world in his mind that fueled hatred toward women.

“This individual had no foundation on which to make the proper choices,” attorney David Grant told the jury. “The evidence will show that Mike’s life was further influenced by a disturbed family tree, comprised of generations of physical abusers, sex abusers. Literally, a family tree of abuse.”

Madison was ruled competent to stand trial and a psychologist cleared him of any mental illnesses or defects.

A judge will decide Madison’s fate if the jury recommends death.


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