Van Terry, the father of Shirellda Terry, who was a victim of the Ohio serial killer Michael Madison, leaped over a table to attack the defendant in court Thursday just minutes after the judge pronounced a death sentence.
Shortly before the courtroom incident, Terry had approached the podium to address the judge and speak about the impact of his daughter’s loss. That is when the killer started mocking him.
WCNC reported that an East Cleveland man convicted of killing three women was attacked in court Thursday by the father of one of his victims.
Earlier in the day, Michael Madison was sentenced to die by lethal injection. He was convicted of killing 38-year-old Angela Deskins, 28-year-old Shetisha Sheeley and 18-year-old Shirellda Terry.
The victims’ families were speaking to the court when Terry’s father jumped across the table towards Madison.
“I guess in our hearts…we’re supposed to forgive this clown…who’s touched our families…taken my child,” Terry’s father said before lunging at Madison.
Authorities immediately stepped in and pulled him away from Madison. Nobody was injured in the fight.
The father was escorted from the courtroom, and Madison was also removed for a short time.
Sonya Richardson, Terry’s aunt, said the victim’s father lunged because Madison was mocking him.
“The family is there pouring out their hearts…and he’s sitting there smiling…which caused my brother to launch at him,” Richardson said.
“It was horrible…to be that close…to have to breath his air…to be in the same room with a person who is so horrible…and he don’t care…he was laughing when she gave him the death penalty,” Richardson remarked.
Marie Padgette, Angela Deskins’ mom, said Thursday’s court proceedings can bring some closure.
“She can rest in peace now,” Padgette said.
Belinda Minor, Terry’s mom, is just happy the incident is over.
“I’m extremely grateful that this three years is over. I’m grateful that seven weeks of trial…he does not deserve to have a name at this time,” Minor said of Madison.
McDonnell also sentenced Madison on the multiple lesser counts of kidnapping, rape, having weapons under disability and gross abuse of a corpse to a total of 51 years in prison — 11 years for each of the kidnappings, 11 years to life for the rape, 3 years for the weapons charge and 1 year for each of the abuse of a corpse charges.
The jury recommended the death penalty last month. Madison, 38, was convicted of aggravated murder last month. The jury deliberated for less than a day before recommending the death penalty.
Madison’s attorneys argued that he shouldn’t get a death sentence because of psychological damage caused by child abuse.
Their bodies were found in July 2013 near the East Cleveland apartment building where Madison lived.