As a teenager Shawn Grate was known as a charming, laid back guy who got a lot of attention from the opposite sex but what people didn’t know was that underneath his charming, laid back persona he had a rage deep inside him that was about to be released.
At 18 years old Grate was arrested for grabbing his girlfriend by the throat. Then a few years later he was arrested for breaking into his 17-year-old girlfriends home and choking her, eight months later he was arrested again after he broke into that same girlfriends home and hid under the couch before jumping out with a butchers knife.
By Grate’s mid-20s his behaviour had become more erratic, he went on to have 3 children with 3 different women and he even threatened his ex-wife Amber Bowman saying that “if I can’t see my daughter, no one will”. He then moved on from Bowman and began dating Christina Hildreth after a few months he became jealous, controlling and violent towards Hildreth. It’s reported that Grate beat Hildreth up numerous times by punching her in the face and choking her. He would eventually be arrested and spend 180 days in jail for the attacks.
He also had a history of erratic behaviour in his friendships, once he asked a now-former friend for a loan and when that friend said no he sent a message that said: “meet the other me”. In 2015 Grate met sex worker Rebekah Leicy at a bar he would later strangle Leicy after she stole $4 from him, her death was originally ruled as a drug overdose. Also in 2015 Grate’s girlfriend Candice Cunningham disappeared but her family never filed a missing person report because they believed she had just moved states, she would later be found behind a burned down house after Grate showed authorities where he disposed of her body once he was arrested. A cause of death has never been released.
A month before Grate was arrested, Elizabeth Griffith who knew Grate from a community service centre they both attended. Phone records show that Griffith called Grate on the day she disappeared, her body would later be discovered in Grate’s house. He strangled her to death. A week before Grate was arrested, Stacey Stanley had a flat tire when Grate stopped to help her change the tire, Stanley then gave Grate a lift home and she was never seen again. Her body would later be discovered in Grate’s house, she had been strangled to death.
Then on September 13th, 2016 the Ashland Police Department received a phone call from a woman who we now know as Jane Doe, she was whispering saying that she had been kidnapped and was currently tied up next to her abductor who was asleep. As she didn’t know the address of the house where she was being held, she described the surroundings outside like the Fourth Street laundromat. The operator asked her if there’s any way she can get out of the house? She said she wasn’t sure if she could without waking her abductor, then as the operator was talking Jane Doe through potentially trying to escape out of the house, Jane Doe knocked her abductor’s taser off of the bedside table which woke him up but he went straight back to sleep.
Once the police arrive at the house they learn that Jane Doe had been held captive by Shawn Grate and that she had been tied up, raped and tortured for 3 days. That’s also when police found the dead bodies of Stacey Stanley and Elizabeth Griffith in the house.
Grate was arrested and taken to the police station for questioning. Originally Grate wasn’t giving detectives any information but after persistent questioning, he finally confessed to the murder of Rebekah Leicy, Candice Cunningham, Elizabeth Griffith, Stacey Stanley and a fifth victim who had been murdered in 2007, Dana Lowrey. He also said that he never planned on killing Jane Doe because he believed they were going to get married.
On May 7th, 2018 Shawn Grate was found guilty of murdering Stacey Stanley and Elizabeth Griffith, he was sentenced to death. On March 1st, 2019 Shawn Grate pled guilty to murdering Rebekah Leicy and Candice Cunningham, he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole plus 17 years. On September 11th, 2019 Shawn Grate pled guilty to murdering Dana Lowrey, he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Shawn Grate is scheduled to be executed on March 19th, 2025.
Rest In Peace Rebekah Leicy, Candice Cunningham, Elizabeth Griffith, Stacey Stanley and Dana Lowrey.