In a courtroom incident captured on video, the father of a murder victim made a desperate lunge toward his daughter’s killer after the alleged smirk from the perpetrator triggered his emotions. Van Terry’s daughter, Shirellda Terry, was tragically murdered by Michael Madison in Ohio back in 2013.
The discovery of a body in a garage leased by Madison led to the revelation of two more bodies, one in a backyard and another in the basement of a vacant house. Shockingly, all three victims were found wrapped in plastic bags following a neighbor’s complaint about a disturbing odor emanating from the property. Madison was subsequently arrested when additional evidence of decomposition was uncovered in his residence. Angela Deskins, 38, and Shetisha Sheeley, 28, were the other victims.
During the trial, Van Terry took the opportunity to deliver a victim impact statement to the court. However, he was unable to complete his written statement as he emotionally addressed Madison, saying, “Right now I guess we’re supposed to in our hearts forgive this clown. He’s touched our families, taken my child…” At that point, Terry abruptly halted, according to the Mirror.
Allegedly, it was during this pause that Madison smirked at Terry from across the courtroom, pushing the grieving father to his breaking point. Terry swiftly lunged from his seat, attempting to reach the man responsible for his daughter’s murder. In an interview with Fox8 news channel, Terry explained his actions, stating, “When I first went up there, I was okay. I was thinking about how he mutilated my child, how you cut my child, and you did all this while my child was still alive, so you caused my baby great pain.”
The smile from Madison, however, proved to be the tipping point. Terry expressed his determination, saying, “I don’t know if I thought about leaping or what have you, I just know I wanted him.” Despite potential charges for his outburst, Terry remained defiant, attributing his actions to a father feeling his pain. He stated, “And if I do get charged, I’m alright with that because I did what was right.”
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty acknowledged Terry’s breaking point, remarking that the defendant had taunted him. McGinty emphasized the heinous nature of Madison’s crimes, declaring, “He killed his daughter. This is the type of thing Mr. Madison finds amusing. Michael Madison is a gutless coward.”
Ultimately, Madison was found guilty and sentenced to death, although Terry had expressed his preference for a different form of punishment. Terry stated, “Release him inside the [prison] population and let him deal with it every day of his life. That’s what I think; I think he should suffer like we suffered.” The judge, in an unprecedented move, handed down the death penalty, acknowledging the sheer inhumanity of Madison’s acts and the necessity for severe punishment. As of 2023, Michael Madison remains incarcerated on death row, awaiting his fate.