Ashland murder suspect pleads not guilty

Shawn Grate appeared via video arraignmet in Ashland County Common Pleas Court

Shawn Grate is charged with abducting a woman in Ashland after police rescued her and found three bodies.
This photo provided by Ashland County Sheriff Office shows Shawn M. Grate. Grate, was arrested Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016, in Ashland, Ohio in connection to the investigation of a rescued abductee and the discovery of the remains of two people in the home where he was arrested. (Ashland County Sheriff Office /The Times Gazette via AP)

ASHLAND, Ohio (WKBN/AP) – The man at the center of a grisly murder investigation in central Ohio pleaded not guilty Monday to murder and kidnapping charges.

Shawn Grate, 40, appeared via video arraignment in Ashland County Common Pleas Court Monday morning on charges surrounding two bodies that were found inside an abandoned house in Ashalnd and the sexual assault of a third victim.

Police were called to the house last week after a woman, who says she was being held captive by Grate, managed to get his cell phone and call 911.

Grate waived his right to a preliminary hearing and a speedy trial. He is scheduled back in court Thursday, Sept. 29 at 8 a.m.

Grate also led police to another body that was found in a wooded area in Mansfield. No charges have been filed yet in that case.

The Marion County Sheriff said Monday that Grate also confessed to killing a woman about 10 years ago. According to the sheriff, Grate told investigators he killed the woman, who was selling magazines, sometime between 2003 and 2005.

The sheriff says the body of the unidentified woman was found in 2007 near Marion. That’s about 50 miles (80 kilometers) southeast of Ashland.

Grate is being held on a $1 million bond.

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