ASHLAND — ASHLAND -- Additional testimony to show the chain of custody of the evidence collected by authorities began day seven of the murder trial of accused serial killer Shawn Grate Tuesday morning.
The chain of custody shows which individuals collected, moved or transferred evidence collected at the scene of the Covert Court home where the bodies of two women, Elizabeth Griffith and Stacey Stanley (Hicks), were found and a third woman escaped on Sept. 13, 2016.
Ashland police Lt. Gary Alting said he had share a photograph of a tattoo on Stanley's left arm with her family to confirm her identity following the discovery of Stanley's body on Sept. 13.
Lt. Tim Shreffler spoke about his involvement in the case, which included his response to Covert Ct. where a woman, identified as "Jane Doe," called 911 to report she was being held captive by Shawn Grate. Shreffler stated that he came a naked woman standing at the doorway when officers made entry into the home. He described "Doe" as looking very scared. Once she was put into a police car, Shreffler noted that Doe was upset when he had to leave to speak to a fellow officer.
Dr. Todd Barr with the Summit County Medical Examiner's Office took the stand to address the autopsy reports completed on both Griffith and Stanley. Barr said Griffith was in an "advanced state of decomposition and was not clothed, but had clothing attached to her extremities. Her hands were tied were tied behind her back by clothing.
Barr said that the video of Grate demonstrating on an Ashland detective (shown in the photo below) how he choked Elizabeth Griffith, referencing a "sleeper hold," was consistent with their autopsy findings.
Barr said the likely cause of death for both Griffith and Stanely was cervical compression by the method of asphyxia.
The defense questioned Barr about the term "sleeper hold" and asked if it was related to terminology in wrestling in which Barr confirmed.
Rape testing results were negative for both Griffith and Stanley, which officials noted was not abnormal to see with the level of decomposition of the bodies.
Grate is accused of raping "Doe" who escaped the home after calling 911 to report she was being held against her will. The prosecution team and Ashland police detectives noted that videos were found on a cell phone, but it’s not immediately clear if it will be shown to the jury.