Ohio suspect in women's slayings found competent for trial

ASHLAND, Ohio (AP) - A man suspected of killing several women in Ohio was found competent Friday to stand trial in connection with two of the deaths but is expected to undergo further evaluations as his attorneys pursue an insanity defense.

An Ashland County judge made the competency finding based on a December evaluation of 40-year-old Shawn Grate.

His attorneys argue that he is not guilty of murder and other charges because he's insane. In connection with that claim, he is slated to be evaluated again by an independent doctor and by the diagnostic center that did the initial competency report.

A judge's order blocks Grate's attorneys and the prosecutors from publicly commenting on the case.

Police arrested Grate in September, when they found two bodies in an Ashland home where another woman had called 911 and said she'd been held captive. Grate is also accused of raping her.

Autopsy reports indicated the women were strangled.

Investigators say Grate admitted killing at least two other women, though he hasn't been charged in all the deaths.

Grate told investigators he stabbed a woman who was selling magazines door-to-door and dumped her body, which was found near Marion in 2007.

Authorities said Grate also told them he killed another woman in June. Her body was found near Mansfield.

Police were investigating whether Grate is connected to the 2015 death of a fifth woman, found in woods in Ashland County. A coroner initially ruled her death a drug overdose and found no signs of traumatic injuries, but Grate's arrest prompted police to take another look at the case.



 
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