The reaction of Cleveland serial killer Michael Madison led the father of one of his victims to lunge at him in the courtroom on Thursday, June 2.
Van Terry was invited in Madison’s sentence hearing to speak about the impact of losing his daughter Shirellda.
"Right now, I guess we're supposed to, in our hearts forgive this clown, who has touched our families, taken my child," he said.
When Terry paused to look at Madison during his testimony, the killer was reportedly grinning. This prompted Terry to attack the convict, lunging at the table to reach for him. Deputies pried the anguished father away from Madison, and eventually put him out of the courtroom. Madison did not seem to be injured from the attack.
Madison has been convicted of the 2013 murders of three women, 38-year-old Angela Deskins, 28-year-old Shetisha Sheeley and18-year-old Shirellda Terry, whose mutilated bodies were found near the apartment building he lived in. He admitted to the police that he strangled two of the women but could not remember killing the third.
He has also been convicted earlier this month for multiple counts of aggravated murder and kidnapping, and was previously classified as a sex offender in 2002 for attempted rape.
Instead of denying the atrocious acts he had committed, Madison and his attorneys presented evidence of psychological damage due to his abusive childhood. However, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Nancy McDonnell accepted the jury’s recommendation that 38-year-old Madison receive the death penalty, instead of a lifetime sentence in prison without parole.
McDonnell, who has never issued the death sentence in over 20 years, said that she was struck by the ‘sheer inhumanity’ Madison did to his three victims.
Prosecutors are still deciding if Terry should be charged with a crime.