Shawn Grate: The Ohio House of Horrors Killer, Profile and Facts

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Here is a profile and some facts on The House of Horrors Killer, AKA: Shawn Grate, who killed five people between 2006 and 2016 in Ohio.

This is from my new encyclopedia book series, 21st Century Serial Killers Volume 1.

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Shawn Grate: The House of Horrors Killer

The residents of Ashland, Ohio found themselves grappling with the chilling reality that a monster had been living among them undetected for years in the autumn of 2016.

The individual responsible for the reign of terror was Shawn Michael Grate, who committed brutal crimes that sent shockwaves through the tight-knit community.

Shawn Grate was born on August 8, 1976, and grew up in Marion, Ohio.

Despite having a normal childhood where he played sports and hung out with other kids, he had many problems in school and was held back in kindergarten and first grade.

Nevertheless, he was known for being charming and friendly, and many girls liked him.

His parents divorced when he was almost six years old, and two days before his birthday. Grate’s mother left the family when he was 11 to live with a man in Kentucky, and he was upset with her affair.

He did not like her boyfriends and continued living with his father for the next four years.

He excelled as a baseball player in high school, but a broken arm and the discovery of a tumour prevented him from continuing to play.

Violent Fantasies Spill Over

Grate harboured violent fantasies toward his mother from a young age, and his half-sister noticed the tension between them.

A former girlfriend stated that Grate would lie on the couch for days at a time before returning to normal.

Despite his reputation as a happy youth, a court psychiatrist described him as a “kind of a depressed kid” due to the neglect and emotional detachment he faced in his childhood.

The custody of Grate and his brother was transferred to their father in 1994, and Grate was arrested for grabbing his girlfriend’s throat the same year.

He was charged with felony burglary in January 1997 after breaking into a house with a juvenile accomplice to steal money and jewellery. Grate was sentenced to four years in prison but released early in October 1997.

He had a history of minor brushes with the law, but nothing that hinted at the depths of depravity that lay beneath the surface.

Grate’s descent into darkness began in 2006, when he committed his first known murder. Over the next decade, Grate would claim at least five lives, leaving a trail of devastation in his wake.

Shawn Grate: The Ohio House of Horrors Killer, Profile and Facts

Ohio House of Horrors

That first murder had gone cold until Grate confessed while on trial. He made a chilling claim to the authorities that he had murdered another woman whose body was found in Marion County in 2007.

According to him, the victim’s name was Dana, and he had no recollection of her surname.

In June 2019, DNA testing finally identified the victim as 23-year-old Dana Nicole Lowrey, a mother of two young daughters under the age of 5 at the time of her murder.

Grate managed to keep his murderous urges hidden until 2015, when he started killing again. Rebekah Leicy was a former girlfriend of Grate’s, and her body was found in March 2015.

Although her death was initially ruled an overdose, it was later revealed that Grate had strangled her after accusing her of stealing $40 from his workplace.

In the same year, Candice Cunningham disappeared after moving in with Grate.

Her disappearance remained a mystery until September 2016, when a woman called 911 from an abandoned house in Ashland, reporting that she had been abducted and held captive by Shawn Grate.

Police arrived on the scene and found the woman, whom they freed, and arrested Grate without incident.

However, it was only when they searched the property that they uncovered the full extent of Grate’s horrific crimes.

The decomposing bodies of Stacey Stanley and Elizabeth Griffith were discovered in the abandoned house, turning it into a macabre dumping ground.

Grate revealed to the police where they could find Cunningham’s body, which he claimed was located behind a house in neighbouring Richland County that had previously burned down.

DNA tests conducted in November 2016 confirmed that the body was Cunningham’s, and she too had been strangled.

The kidnapping and rape victim, who remains unidentified, relayed to the court the horrors of what she went through.

After she went to his house for a bible-reading, Grate knocked the bible out of her hands and beat her into submission.

He then tied her in various positions on his bed then raped and tortured her for three entire days, leaving her requiring long term medical attention.

Chilling Portrait of a Heartless Killer

Grate’s victims were women who had crossed paths with him, unknowingly becoming prey to his violent urges.

The shocking case rocked the residents of Ashland and its surroundings, who struggled to reconcile the image of the unremarkable man they had known with the horrifying reality of his crimes.

In a series of disturbing confessions, Grate described his brutal actions without remorse for the lives he had taken.

He revealed his desire for control and the excitement he derived from ending the lives of his victims, painting a chilling portrait of a heartless killer.

In March 2017, Grate was found fit to stand trial and was deemed sane at the time of the murders.

His first trial began in May 2018 where he pleaded guilty to all charges and was sentenced to death for the murders of Stacey and Elizabeth.

In further court dates in 2019 and 2020, he received additional life sentences for the other murders he committed.

The House of Horrors Killer had lived among his unsuspecting neighbours for years, with his monstrous urges hidden behind a façade of normalcy.

It was only through the extraordinary bravery of one woman who managed to escape Grate’s clutches and alert the authorities that his reign of terror was finally brought to an end.

Grate is set to be executed on March 19, 2025. His former house, dubbed the House of Horrors, has since been demolished.

If you like my blogs, you might like my new book series with Twelvetrees Camden and True Crime Lists. 21st Century Serial Killers Volume 1 is on pre-order now!

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