Bond set at $1 million for Ashland murder suspect

ASHLAND, OHIO - Ashland County Common Pleas Court Judge Ron Forsthoefel set a $1 million cash bond for Shawn Grate Friday afternoon.

Grate, 40, who is homeless, is charged with two counts of murder and one count of kidnapping after a woman escaped abduction from a Covert Court home earlier this week.

Authorities received a 911 call Tuesday morning from a woman who said she had just fled the 363 Covert Court house where she was being held captive. Officials went to that scene and recovered the bodies of two women. 

One body has been identified as Stacey Stanley, aka Stacey Hicks.

A third body was found at a burned-out Richland County house. 

Grate was present via video for his bond hearing Friday afternoon before Forsthoefel. Ashland County Prosecutor Christopher Tunnell appeared on behalf of the state.

Forsthoefel recited the felony charges:

Kidnapping that occurred sometime between Sept. 11-16, 2016

Murder of Mary Doe that occurred sometime between Aug. 16-Sept. 13, 2016

Murder of Stacey Hicks aka Stacey Stanley that occurred sometime between Sept. 8-13, 2016.

According to the Mansfield News Journal, Tunnell confirmed the second body from the Covert Court house is that of missing Ashland woman Elizabeth Griffith. Griffith, 29, had been reported missing since she hadn't been seen since Aug. 16 near Walmart.

(Tunnell identified Griffith during a video statement released via Twitter, following the bond hearing).

In response to Forsthoefel asking if he had any job or money, Grate said he was no longer employed at the Save-A-Lot and had no money.

Forsthoefel declared Grate to be indigent -- without funds to hire an attorney -- and appointed attorney R. Rolf Whitney as counsel.

Forsthoefel set 7:45 a.m. Monday for Grate's next hearing.

When the judge first asked Tunnell his recommendation as to the amount of bond, Tunnell recited a literal laundry list of cases involving Grate in different cities and counties.

Among them were: 1993 and 1994 misdemeanor assault; 1999 aggravated menacing and criminal trespass; 2003 domestic violence; 2009 possession of marijuana; 2010 misdemeanor domestic violence; and drug abuse.

Tunnell also said there was an active warrant for Grate out of Mansfield Municipal Court for fleeing. Grate also has a 2016 contempt of court charge. Tunnell asked for a $1 million bond.

Following Tunnell's statements, Forsthoefel set the bond.

Forsthoefel asked Grate if he had any questions about the bond amount, to which Grate responded, "No, it sounds fair."

 

 

 

 


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