(CUYAHOGA COUNTY, Ohio) -- An alleged serial killer in East Cleveland, Ohio, was ordered held on $6 million bond Monday as authorities identified one of three women he is accused of killing and dumping in plastic bags.
Michael Madison, 35, appeared in a municipal court and was charged with three counts of kidnapping and three counts of aggravated murder, a charge that carries the death penalty in Ohio.
Police discovered the still-unidentified first victim, when neighbors reported a foul smell emanating from Madison's garage on Friday. A second victim, later identified as Angela Deskins, a 38-year-old resident of East Cleveland, was the second body found by police, and is believed to have been buried in Madison's backyard. A third victim was found in the basement of a nearby abandoned home. All three women are believed to have been killed within the past several weeks and were found within 200 yards of each other.
Authorities were able to identify Deskins by fingerprints on file with the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office.
Wearing a purple jail-issue jumpsuit, he answered "yes," each time the judge asked if he understood the charges against him. He did not enter a plea.
Bond was set at $6 million, $1 million for each of the six felony counts.
Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Gilsom said the cause of death could not be determined in all three cases, because the bodies were already too decomposed.
Police spent the weekend searching for additional bodies. On Sunday, more than 100 volunteers scoured the blighted neighborhood's abandoned homes looking for bodies, but no additional victims have been discovered.
The medical examiner asked the public for help in identifying one of the women.
The woman is described as having multiple tattoos, including a red star on her left thumb, a pair of lips on her left forearm and a flower on her left thigh bearing the name "Gene," and the name of rapper Lil Wayne across her left breast.
At a press conference before Madison's court appearance, Mayor Gary Norton called the killings a "tragedy" and the "most unspeakable of atrocities known to mankind."
The women, he said, were "three individuals minding their business and being good…killed senselessly by an individual who has no regard for human lives."
Madison was classified as a sex offender in 2002 when he was sentenced to four years in prison for attempted rape.
His case comes on the heels of two highly public and disturbing cases in the nearby city of Cleveland.
In 2009, the bodies of 11 women were found in garbage bags and plastic sheets in the home of Anthony Sowell. Sowell was convicted in 2011 of murdering the women and sentenced to death.
In May, three woman kidnapped a decade ago were found alive but held captive in the home of Ariel Castro. Castro has been charged with kidnapping, rape and the murder of one of his captive's unborn children. He has pleaded not guilty to all counts.
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