ASHLAND - The judge in the case of accused serial killer Shawn Grate has issued a gag order on all counsel and the defendant.

Ashland County Common Pleas Court Judge Ron Forsthoefel issued the order Thursday morning.

On Wednesday, the Ashland County Prosecutor's Office and defense attorneys Rolf and Robert Whitney filed a joint motion for a gag order on Wednesday "to prohibit defendant from communicating, in any fashion, with any member of the public or news media regarding the pending case."

Grate was indicted last month in Ashland County on 23 felony charges, including aggravated murder, in the deaths of Elizabeth Griffith and Stacey Stanley. If convicted, Grate could receive the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Preliminary autopsy reports indicate both women were strangled.

Grate, 40, is being held in the Ashland County Jail on a $1 million cash bond.

Since his incarceration, Grate has been writing letters to news media outlets, discussing his alleged crimes. He also granted at least one interview to a Cleveland TV reporter.

In addition to the aggravated murder charges, Grate faces kidnapping and rape charges connected to a third female who called 911 from 363 Covert Court, saying she had been abducted.

Since his arrest, Grate has been linked to the deaths of three other women in Richland and Marion counties.