Jury Selection Begins in Trial of Alleged Ohio Serial Killer Michael Madison, Accused of Stuffing Victims' Bodies into Garbage Bags

Opening arguments could be presented as early as the middle of next week, according to officials

Photo: Tony Dejak/AP

Jury selection has begun in Cleveland, Ohio, for accused serial killer Michael Madison, whose impending aggravated murder and rape trial is expected to begin sometime next week, according to authorities.

Madison, 38, has been charged with allegedly raping and killing three women whose bodies were found wrapped in garbage bags and stashed, respectively, in the suspect’s garage, a neighboring vacant home, and a nearby backyard, PEOPLE confirms.

Madison was arrested at his mother’s home soon after the bodies were discovered in 2013. If convicted, Madison could be sentenced to death.

Joseph Frolik, a spokesman for the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office, tells PEOPLE that potential jurors spent Monday morning filling out questionnaires inside a Cleveland courtroom after getting instructions from the judge.

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Opening arguments in Madison’s trial could be presented to jurors as early as the middle of next week, Frolik says. But the trial’s official start depends on how long it takes to select the jury, the spokesman explains

More than two years ago, Madison was indicted on 14 counts of aggravated murder, kidnapping and rape. Prosecutors have identified at least 50 witnesses they’d like to question during the trial. Madison’s attorneys haven’t revealed anything in the media about their defense strategy.

Police started investigating Madison after a cable television worker allegedly detected a foul odor emanating from the his garage. Inside, officers allegedly recovered a woman’s decaying remains.

An extensive search of the surrounding neighborhood turned up two more corpses, similarly wrapped up in garbage bags and sealed closed with tape, police allege.

Madison’s alleged victims were Shirellda Terry, 18, Angela Deskins, 38, and Shetisha Sheeley, 28. The first two women were allegedly strangled while investigators ruled Sheeley’s death the result of “homicidal violence by unspecified means.”

Prosecutors claim that Madison confessed to killing one of the three women and told police he disposed of two bodies. But he allegedly claimed he couldn’t remember killing the other two because he’d been on drugs and was drunk.

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