Electronic fingerprint left by digital device helped lead police to accused serial killer

Electronic fingerprint left by digital device helped lead police to accused serial killer
Michael Madison goes on trial in the death of 3 women in East Cleveland. (Source: WOIO)
Michael Madison goes on trial in the death of 3 women in East Cleveland. (Source: WOIO)

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - With a smart phone you hold an incredible amount of power, but it allows you to be tracked, it knows who you've been talking to and texting.

In the Michael Madison case a smartphone let police know that Madison had contact with at least one of the women he is charged with murdering.

Shirellda Terry's stepfather described the painful wait and frantic searching from the day she didn't return from a summer job until the family learned she was dead. He was the first witness in the murder trial. He described a dependable girl, who was a good student, and always let people know if her routine would change. That's why when he heard she hadn't come home he was immediately concerned.

Family members quickly made up fliers and posted them in the neighborhood. There was no sign of her, until a call from detectives saying a body had been found. It was Shirellda's.

But phone records led detectives to Madison asking, "Did you come to learn she had met somebody?  Yes. And what was the information that you learned? 
That he went by the name of Ivan."

Prosecutors believe Ivan was Madison. A text message read in court by her sister revealed that Shirellda agreed the night before she was murdered to break her routine. It said, "Well, good night.  I'll see you at 4:30 tomorrow." She said Shirellda told her it was to Ivan.

Madison is accused of murdering Shetisha Sheeley, Angela Deskins and Shirellda Terry whose bodies were found in July 2013 in East Cleveland.

Police found the first victim on July 19, 2013 after answering a complaint about odors coming from an East Cleveland garage. Two more bodies were discovered the following day. All three were wrapped in plastic bags.

On that same day, Madison was arrested at his mother's home after a two-hour standoff with police.

Madison's attorneys appealed to the Court of Appeals after a psychologist working for prosecutors interviewed him for three hours, but their appeal was denied.

The victims' families began testifying Monday.


Other families had less frequent contact with the other victims.

Shetisha Sheeley's sister learned from a TV report and was asked, "What did you do at that point?"  She replied, "Um there was a number on there and I called the FBI and just told them it was my sister."

A smartphone worked into this case in another way. One of the first ways another victim's family began to fear she was in harms way was when her face disappeared off her Facebook page, only to be replaced by a purple flower.

Madison faces the death penalty if convicted.

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