Father Attacks His Daughter’s Killer in Court

June 3, 2016 Updated: June 3, 2016

The father of a murdered teen girl was seen lunging over a court table to attack a convicted serial killer, Michael Madison.

The incident took place during Madison’s hearing in Cleveland as to whether he should get the death penalty for the murders of Shirellda Terry, Shetisha Sheeley and Angela Deskins. Early last month, he was convicted of the murder counts and a few days ago, a jury recommended that he be sentenced to death.

On June 2, Cuyahoga Common Pleas Judge Nancy R. McDonnell sentenced him to death.

Madison, 38, apparently smiled at Van Terry, the father of one of the murdered girls, prompting Terry to leap over a courtroom table in an attempt to get at him. Terry was on his way to give his victim-impact statement just moments after the judge sentenced Madison, CBS News reported.

“He was upset. He’s telling you that he lost his baby, that’s a slice of his heaven, and (Madison) is sitting over there smiling,” Van Terry’s sister Sonya Richardson was quoted as saying after the hearing. “It’s like, enough,” she added, according to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer.

Terry’s lunge and struggle with guards was captured on camera.

“Right now, I guess we’re supposed to, in our hearts forgive this clown, who has touched our families, taken my child,” Terry said.

Cuyahoga County courtroom deputies wrestled Terry as Madison and others tried to get out of the way. Terry was dragged out of the courtroom, and it didn’t appear that Madison was injured.

Michael Madison (East Cleveland Police Department)
Michael Madison (East Cleveland Police Department)

The bodies of Deskins, 38; Sheeley, 28; and Terry, 18, were found in July 2013 near an East Cleveland apartment building where Madison had lived. Madison had told police he strangled two of the women but couldn’t remember killing the third.

The ruling on Thursday was the first time Judge McDonnell has sentenced anyone to death. He has been on the bench in Cuyahoga County since 1995.

“This man is evil, he is a personification of it,” Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty said. “The sentence will not bring back the victims, but in the future, when other cold-blooded criminals do their cost benefit analysis, they will know that death is in the equation for them.

“I believe there is some value in capital punishment, this is one of those cases.”

McDonnell said the horrific crimes committed by Madison outweighed evidence presented in efforts to spare him the death penalty. His lawyers argued that he had an abusive and chaotic childhood.

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