Watch: Dad's leap at laughing serial killer

The father of a teenage woman murdered by a convicted sex offender leaped over a table and tried to attack the smirking serial killer in court after he was sentenced to death on Thursday.

Michael Madison was given the death penalty for murdering 18-year-old Shirelda Terry, Angela Deskins, 38, and Shetisha Sheele, 28, in Ohio in July 2013.

Miss Terry's father, Van Terry, was speaking about the loss of his daughter after Madison was sentenced to death when he suddenly ran and lunged at the murderer.

Ohio serial killer Michael Madison, right, smiles at Van Terry, the father of one of Madison's victims. Photo / AP
Ohio serial killer Michael Madison, right, smiles at Van Terry, the father of one of Madison's victims. Photo / AP

Madison, 38, was seen laughing as Cuyahoga County courtroom deputies wrestled the upset father away.

Mr Terry turned, paused and lunged toward Madison as police officers scrambled to haul him back.

The hearing continued once Mr Terry was taken from the courtroom. Madison did not appear to be injured.

The scuffle happened just minutes after Madison was sentenced to death for the 2013 killings.

Van Terry turned, paused and lunged toward Madison as police officers scrambled to haul him back. Photo / Supplied
Van Terry turned, paused and lunged toward Madison as police officers scrambled to haul him back. Photo / Supplied

The bodies of Ms Deskins, Ms Sheeley and teenager Miss Terry were found wrapped in garbage bags near the East Cleveland apartment building where Madison lived in July 2013.

A cable television worker reported a putrid smell coming from a garage shared by Madison at the apartment building.

Inside, police found the decaying body of a woman wrapped in garbage bags that were sealed closed with tape.

The next day, searchers found bodies in the basement of a vacant house and in the backyard of a home nearby.

Madison told police he strangled two of the women but could not remember killing the third.

Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Nancy McDonnell accepted a jury's recommendation that Madison receive the death penalty. She could have instead chosen to sentence Madison to life in prison without parole.

A court officer tackles Van Terry with Ohio serial killer Michael Madison, left. Photo / AP
A court officer tackles Van Terry with Ohio serial killer Michael Madison, left. Photo / AP

McDonnell said the horrific nature of Madison's crimes far outweighed evidence presented in efforts to spare him, including an abusive and chaotic childhood.

Madison was also convicted last month of multiple counts of aggravated murder and kidnapping.

Any execution is likely years away because of lengthy appeals. Ohio also lacks supplies of lethal drugs.

Madison's attorneys never contested his guilt at trial. They instead focused on saving his life by presenting evidence that Madison suffered lasting psychological damage from physical abuse as a youngster.

There was testimony that Madison was abused by his drug-addicted mother, a stepfather, some of his mother's boyfriends and family members.

A court officer tackles the father of one of three victims of Ohio serial killer Michael Madison, left. Photo / AP
A court officer tackles the father of one of three victims of Ohio serial killer Michael Madison, left. Photo / AP

"This history of abuse and his dysfunctional upbringing certainly doesn't excuse what happened here but certainly provides a basis for understanding the type of person Michael Madison evolved into," defence attorney David Grant told the judge.

Prosecutors argued both at trial and during the mitigation hearing that Madison deserved to die because of the circumstances surrounding the killings.

A death sentence "will send a message to the community that the strongest possible sentence will be imposed upon crimes of this nature," Christopher Schroeder, a Cuyahoga County assistant prosecutor, told the judge.

Madison was classified as a sex offender in 2002 when he was sentenced to four years in prison for attempted rape.

The discovery of the three women's bodies in 2013 drew national attention to the possibility that another serial killer like Anthony Sowell had been killing women in and around Cleveland.

Sowell was convicted in 2011 and sentenced to death for killing 11 women whose bodies were found at his Cleveland home.

The Ohio Supreme Court is considering whether to uphold his conviction and sentence.

- Daily Mail

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