Grate

The Ohio Supreme Court on Tuesday denied, without comment, denied convicted serial killer Shawn Grate's application to reopen his case. (Richland Source file photo)

COLUMBUS -- Convicted serial killer Shawn Grate will not get another new day before the Ohio Supreme Court.

The state's highest court, without comment, on Tuesday denied Grate's application to reopen his case.

Grate, 44, sentenced to death for the murders of five women in Ashland, Richland and Marion counties, obtained a new attorney earlier this year.

That attorney, Elizabeth Arrick of Lexington, Ky., asked for the case to be reopened. She alleged lawyers who represented Grate in his initial, and unsuccessful direct appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court, failed to point out mistakes made by the defendant's trial attorneys.

Ashland County Common Pleas Judge Ronald P. Forsthoefel sentenced Grate in 2018 to death and a minimum of 90 years to life in prison for the murders of Stacey Stanley and Elizabeth Griffith. The death sentence was recommended by an Ashland County jury. 

Grate, an Ashland resident at the time, was later additionally sentenced to life in prison without parole in Richland County for the murders of two Mansfield women and again in Marion County for the murder of a Louisiana woman.

In December 2020, the Ohio Supreme Court unanimously upheld Grate’s conviction and death sentence for the murder of the two Ashland women. The court ruled there were no errors in proceedings denying Grate a fair trial.

In his appeal, Grate argued there were errors in his trial and that his defense counsel was ineffective.

Though all the Ohio Supreme Court Justices ultimately upheld Grate's conviction and sentencing, Justice Michael P. Donnelly did issue an opinion, in which he called "very concerning" the actions of Grate's trial defense lawyers.

"The ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims that I find to be particularly significant are related to counsel’s failure to present adequate psychiatric and neurological evidence in the mitigation phase of Grate’s capital proceedings," Donnelly said.

He went on to say the "overwhelming evidence of Grate’s guilt" would negate any possibility of prejudice in an ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claim.

According to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction website, Grate remains incarcerated at the Chillicothe Correctional Institution.

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