Michael Madison is being described by people who know him as a sweet guy -- as someone not capable of killing another human being.
But he is the same man who police said in a 2001 report choked a woman, demanded sex and tried to rape her.
Michael Madison was convicted of trying to rape an 18-year-old woman in the back of an apartment building on Marloes Avenue in East Cleveland, just down the street from the police station.
She said he choked her, threatened to kill her if she screamed, and then tried to rape her.
Neighbors heard her screams in the pre-dawn hours and called police, who interrupted the attempted rape.
Madison's uncle, former East Cleveland Councilman Otis Mays, says that he didn't believe the charges back then. Madison and Mays lived together at that time.
He also doesn't believe the murder rap now. "I'm saying he's not capable of doing anything like that," Mays said, referring to the murders. "Not capable."
Mays, who was himself arrested for paying a homeless man to give him oral sex six years ago, was shocked to hear his nephew was charged with murder.
"I still don't believe it, I mean, that's not his demeanor," Mays said. "He's a more quiet, tranquil person."
Madison's criminal history goes back to 2000 when he was busted on charges that he peddled cocaine. He was convicted only of drug possession and did time at the Lorain Correctional Institution.
Kimberly Ferguson, a friend of Madison's, says that the man she called Ivan was like a big brother to her.
"He was always there when I needed him," she said. "I mean, he never came off nasty, he never came off weird."
"Ivan was a sweet person."