Michael Madison charged with murder over Cleveland killings

The suspect did not enter a plea in court

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An Ohio man has been charged with murder in the deaths of three women found wrapped in rubbish bags in a suburb of Cleveland.

Michael Madison, a 35-year-old convicted sex offender, was arrested on Friday after a stand-off with police.

The three bodies were found in separate but nearby locations in East Cleveland, Ohio, on Friday and Saturday.

Officials have said Madison may have been influenced by the case of local serial killer Anthony Sowell.

This is the third recent high-profile case in the Cleveland area that involves missing women.

'Badly decomposed'

A search for additional victims was suspended on Sunday afternoon.

One of the women found on Saturday has been identified as Angela Deskins, believed to be 38 years old.

Police searched backyards and abandoned homes for more victims

Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner Thomas Gilson said the three bodies were badly decomposed.

His office was still investigating the final causes of death and the identities of the other two women.

Investigators believe the women were killed in the last six to 10 days.

Following a court appearance on Monday, Madison was being held in lieu of a $6m (£3.9m) bond.

He could face the death penalty or life in prison if convicted of the charges of aggravated murder. He is also charged with three counts of kidnapping.

On Friday, Madison was arrested at his mother's home hours after the first body was found nearby in a garage at his apartment block.

Officials said the three dead bodies were found about 300-600ft (100-200m) apart.

In 2002, Madison pleaded guilty to charges of attempted rape.

East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton told a press briefing on Monday: "We believe if left on the streets just one hour longer, [he] may have put the lives of others in danger."

The mayor also said the suspect indicated he had been influenced by a previous multiple murder case in neighbouring Cleveland.

Anthony Sowell, 52, was sentenced to death in 2011 after being convicted of killing 11 women, the remains of whom were found around his home.

"He said some things that led us to believe that in some way, shape or form, Sowell might be an influence," Mr Norton told the Associated Press.

Police and community volunteers searched about 40 empty homes on Sunday for any other bodies. None were found.

While the search has since been suspended, Police Chief Ralph Spotts said the investigation remained open.

Madison is due to be taken to the Cuyahoga County jail, the same place where Ariel Castro - the man accused of keeping three women captive in his house for a decade - is being held.

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