Convicted serial killer Shawn Grate arraigned on new murder charges in Marion County

Shawn Grate (Chillicothe Correctional Institution)

MARION, Ohio - Convicted killer Shawn Grate faced familiar territory on Monday -- a courtroom, a judge and murder charges. But this time, he appeared via video.

Last week, Grate was indicted on four new charges - aggravated murder, kidnapping, abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence. The charges stem from the death of Dana Lowrey, whose remains were discovered along Victory Road in Marion County back in March of 2007.

In court, Grate pleaded not guilty to all charges on Monday.

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Investigators believe Grate killed Lowrey in May of 2006 and that she was his first victim. But it took years to determine her identity.

It wasn't until 2016 when investigators got a break in the case - from Grate himself. He told investigators the woman's name may have been Dana or Diana. That tip, plus work from Project LINK and the DNA Doe Project, eventually led to Lowrey's daughters, who provided DNA that ultimately confirmed her identity.

"What I think this demonstrates is, when law enforcement is committed to seeing something done, when law enforcement, in this case, was committed to finding out who this person was, she was a living, breathing person, and they never gave up, they explored every option," Prosecutor Ray Grogan said. " The Marion County Sheriff’s Office deserves all the credit in the world. They have done just an incredible, incredible job in seeing this identity to the end, and I’m really proud that I get to work with them."

Sheriff Tim Bailey says Lowrey was in Marion County selling magazines when she was killed. He says she sold magazines to Grate's mother but never supplied them. That angered Grate enough that he lured her into his car, took her back to his house and choked and stabbed her, according to the sheriff. Grate also is accused of then burning her body and belongings.

Grate already is on death row, convicted of killing Elizabeth Griffith and Stacey Stanley in Ashland County. He later was sentenced to life in prison, without the possibility of parole, in the deaths of Rebekah Leicy and Candace Cunningham in Richland County.

That means Grate's fate is already sealed. But both the prosecutor and his defense attorney said there are good reasons for this case to move forward from here.

"Each victim deserves justice, and I do not believe it’s a misuse or waste of taxpayer resources for Ms. Lowrey to have this justice done," Grogan said. "And I will be handling this case personally, obviously, and it is my complete intention to see justice for her, for Ms. Lowrey and her family."

Grate's attorney, Terry Hitchman, also pointed out that there are certain legal procedures that need to be followed.

"From the prosecutor’s point of view, there needs to be closure in any case. And I think, from Shawn’s point of view, there needs to be closure in whatever he may have been involved in," Hitchman said. "I think the important factor to consider is, although you’re talking about Shawn Grate and one young lady, you’re talking about the families of everybody, too. So there needs to be some sort of closure for all of that."

Judge Warren Edwards also set a $1 million bond for Grate, although that was purely procedural.

Grate's next hearing is set for late August.

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