Ashland suspect murder confession: Magazine motive revealed in Marion killing

MARION COUNTY, Ohio-- According to the Marion County sheriff, the suspect charged with killing two women and kidnapping another in Ashland County confessed to a murder in Marion County, which happened around 2005. Skeletal remains were found in 2007.

Shawn Grate, 40, confessed because he wanted to get it off his chest, according to Sheriff Tim Bailey, who also revealed a motive: Grate said his mom was upset that she didn't get magazines that the 26-year-old woman sold, so Grate killed the woman. She has not yet been identified.

Sheriff Bailey said Grate lured the woman into his car with the promise of buying magazines from her, took her to a residence, stabbed her and hid her in the basement; he then took her body and dumped it.

Grate is also the suspect in a third homicide in Richland County. Sources say Candice Cunningham, Grate's former girlfriend, may be the victim.

Photo credit: family of Candice Cunningham

Photo credit: family of Candice Cunningham

The family of Candice Cunnigham in Canton say they are praying she is not the victim that was found in Richland County.  They are waiting for DNA results.

Authorities are reopening a 2015 case in Ashland-- the death of Rebekah Leicy-- to see if there's any connection to Grate.

The victims found in the home in Ashland County have been identified as Stacey Stanley and Elizabeth Griffith.

Grate pleaded not guilty Monday to the charges out of Ashland.  No bond was set.

His next court appearance has been set for Sept. 29.

Ashland County Prosecutor Chris Tunnel released the following statement on the Grate case:

"I know there are many rumors, theories, and public comments about the Grate case, particularly on social media. My office and investigators are working on it diligently, as are other law enforcement agencies. I ask that everyone please refrain from advancing or publicly discussing information that may be false or incomplete. We all want to see justice done, but professionalism requires us to do our homework and check all of our facts before we make things public."

**Continuing coverage**